MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian military on Tuesday accused rebels in Syria’s eastern Ghouta of raining mortar fire down on an evacuation route opened to allow civilians to leave the conflict zone, Russian news agencies reported.
Not a single civilian had been able to leave the area via the corridor in the settlement of Vafidin as a result, RIA cited the Russian military as saying.
Russia, which backs the Syrian government, ordered a daily truce from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (0700 GMT to 1200 GMT) and the creation of a “humanitarian corridor” to let civilians leave the area, the last major rebel stronghold near Damascus.
“At nine o’clock in the morning, a humanitarian corridor was opened for civilians to leave the de-escalation zone,” Russian news agencies cited Russian General Viktor Pankov as saying.
“Right now, there is intensive fire from the rebel side and not one civilian has left.”
Russian news agencies said Syrian government forces, helped by the Russian military, had created the necessary conditions for civilians to be safely received in Vafidin and that medical care was available nearby if necessary.
Buses to take civilians to destinations where they could be temporarily housed were on standby, agencies said.
Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Katya Golubkova