Militants holed up in the eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus opened fire on hundreds of civilians who were trying to flee the area via a humanitarian corridor, the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria said.
“Today, the Jaysh al-Islam militants have dispersed more than 300 civilians who wanted to pass [out of eastern Ghouta] through the humanitarian corridor in the north-eastern outskirts of the city of Douma,” Major General Yury Yevtushenko, the head of the Reconciliation Center, said on Wednesday.
“The people were fired upon,” he said, adding that there has not been any information on the number of casualties among the civilians so far. According to the Reconciliation Center, the militants are denying the people exit from the combat zone for the second day in a row, threatening anyone who attempts to flee with death.
Jaysh al-Islam, which is the largest group operating in eastern Ghouta and Douma, have used inmates from a local prison and civilians in order to erect firing positions outside the humanitarian corridor, Yevtushenko said.
According to the Russian military, the terrorists fired 13 mortar shells at residential areas of Damascus on Wednesday, causing injuries and destruction. “Nine people, including three children, were wounded” in the Syrian capital, Yevtushenko said.
The actions of the terrorists operating in eastern Ghouta, which is a current hotspot in the Syrian conflict, indicate their unwillingness to follow resolutions and their desire to continue warfare, the head of the Reconciliation Center said. On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on a 30-day ceasefire in Syria. However, it was ignored by Jaysh al-Islam and other groups in eastern Ghouta, who continued shelling Damascus.
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On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin said that eastern Ghouta is being used by numerous terrorist groups as a base to launch attacks on the Syrian capital and other areas in the country. Dozens of rockets and mines are being fired at Damascus from the area every day, with shells landing “even on the territory of the Russian embassy and trade mission.”
“Are we going to tolerate this forever?” the Russian president wondered.