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Several people killed, wounded by militant shelling in Eastern Ghouta

Militants opened fire at civilians who were heading to an additional checkpoint between Al-Maliha and Jisreen

MOSCOW, March 8. /TASS/. Several people were killed and wounded in a militant shelling in Eastern Ghouta in Syria, Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria Major General Yuri Yevtushenko said on Thursday.

According to him the militants opened fire at the civilians who were heading to an additional checkpoint between Al-Maliha and Jisreen.

"Today, the Syrian authorities opened an additional checkpoint Al-Maliha and Jisreen for the residents of those settlements. When the civilians moved to the checkpoint, the Faylak Ar-Rahman group of gunmen shot them, three cars were burnt, there were dead and wounded," he said.

Later, according to him, the terrorists fired at the checkpoint from the mortars. Yevtushenko also noted that the militants intensified repressive measures against the population and increased the intensity of the shelling at the checkpoint near the settlement of Al-Wafidin.

"They spill fire even during the humanitarian breaks, so no one has managed to get out of the enclave at the checkpoint at the moment," he added.

Earlier on Thursday, Maj Gen Vladimir Zolotukhin, a spokesman for the Russian center for reconciliation of opposing sides in Syria, said that the militants fired at a column of 300 families heading to the southern exit from Eastern Ghouta.

According to him, the column was attacked at a distance of one kilometer from the exit, where the relatives of Ghouta residents heading to Al-Maliha were waiting for them.

Later, the militants opened mortar fire at the very exit, where the relatives of refugees were waiting for them, as well as a group of Russian and Western journalists. All of them were quickly evacuated, there are no casualties.

On instructions from Russian President Vladimir Putin daily humanitarian pauses were introduced in Eastern Ghouta (a suburb of Damascus) from 09:00 to 14:00 local time starting from February 27. During the first three days, the humanitarian pauses were disrupted by militants.

As the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Warring Sides reported, the terrorists numerously shelled the corridor intended for the exit of civilians from that area and are also keeping hostage the population in their controlled Eastern Ghouta, threatening to punish those wishing to leave.