DAMASCUS, March 1. /TASS/. The militants fired on civilians, attempting to flee Eastern Ghouta, controlled by armed groups, spokesman of the Russian center for reconciliation of the opposing parties Major-General Vladimir Zolotukhin told reporters on Thursday.
"The armed groups are failing the humanitarian operation," he said. "The militants continue breaching ceasefire and would not allow the civilians to flee the dangerous area."
The militants threaten the locals, the center’s representative said. On Wednesday, "they opened fire on about 300 locals, who protested in Dummar (Damascus’ municipal district)," he continued. "Casualties were reported on both sides; and the latest reports say four people were killed there."
In the fight against the militants, the "locals overwhelmed with despair, killed three bandits," the general added.
Earlier on Thursday, the governmental forces repelled the militants’ attacks during the humanitarian pause in Eastern Ghouta, he said.
On Monday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that on instructions from Russian President Vladimir Putin a daily humanitarian pause was introduced in Eastern Ghouta from 09:00 to 14:00 local time, starting from Tuesday, February 27.
Nevertheless, the evacuation efforts were derailed on that day, due to mortar bombardments by insurgents. On Wednesday, the armed groups opened fire on governmental troops near the humanitarian corridor.