The Russian military says militants based in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta have imposed a curfew during humanitarian pauses to prevent civilians from leaving the enclave.
The militants have also banned mass gatherings of civilians, Interfax quoted Russian Major-General Vladimir Zolotukhin as saying on Sunday.
Russia has designated four safe passage routes in Eastern Ghouta after a ceasefire was declared across Syria by the United Nations Security Council.
On Saturday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Syria’s Ambassador to Moscow Riyad Haddad discussed the ceasefire and its violation by the militants as well as militant shelling of Damascus.
The Syrian government and Russia said terrorists fired 65 mortar shells at the capital and its surroundings.
The state news agency SANA said the projectiles hit the al-Bairouni Hospital’s vicinity, the al-Assad neighborhood, and the al-Qemariya neighborhood in the capital’s Old City. According to the report, 49 of the shells were fired at residential structures.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the report, saying terrorists also opened sniper fire at a safe corridor, marked out by Moscow in Eastern Ghouta for evacuation of civilians.
Terrorists are using Eastern Ghouta as a launchpad for near-daily attacks on the capital. The Syrian army is currently in the midst of an operation to drive them out of the enclave, but it is facing a hostile West which is threatening airstrikes to stop the push.
Western leaders were quick to point the finger at the Syrian government after reports of chlorine release in Eastern Ghouta last week.
On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron and his US counterpart Donald Trump vowed there would be “no impunity” in the event of further chemical weapons use in Syria.
France has joined the US and Britain in threatening Damascus with possible airstrikes in the event of further chemical weapons use in Syria.
Western leaders have been accusing the Syrian military of targeting civilians in Eastern Ghouta but they are generally silent on daily mortar attacks on Damascus, which take the lives of civilians.
In the northwestern Idlib province, as many as 8,000 civilians in the Shia villages of al-Foua and Kefraya have been under the siege of terrorist groups for three years now and subject to frequent mortar attacks.
Like Eastern Ghouta, the province holds large concentration of terrorists, which fled there after losing ground to the Syrian Army and its allies.
“The tragedy in the two besieged towns doesn’t seem to have touched the conscience of the states and organizations that claim to care for the Syrian people, despite numerous letters related to this issue sent by the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry to the UN Secretary-General and the head of the Security Council,” SANA said on Saturday.