East Ghouta Residents asking Rights Groups For Evacuation Help - Russian Military
© REUTERS/ Bassam Khabieh
Civilians residing in Syria's Eastern Ghouta are massively contacting representatives of Syrian human rights organizations with a request to assist their evacuation from the territories held by militants, spokesman for Russian center for Syrian reconciliation Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin said Thursday.

"According to the information received, over the 24 hours, the number of appeals from residents of Eastern Ghouta to human rights activists has increased by several times, with requests to help and assist in their evacuation from the territory controlled by militants," Zolotukhin told reporters.

According to the spokesman, militants continue mortar shelling of the humanitarian corridor in Muhayam-al-Wafedin.

Earlier in the day, at 09:00 a.m. Damascus time (07:00 GMT) the third five-hour "humanitarian pause" began in Eastern Ghouta, while Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu sent an explanation of Russian initiatives on Eastern Ghouta to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

In order to evacuate civilians, a humanitarian corridor with access to Muhayam-al-Wafedin settlement has been prepared with the assistance of the Syrian Red Crescent Society. The citizens are informed of the evacuation details through broadcasting, SMS and leaflets explaining how to exit from the area and to pass government checkpoints.

The ceasefire comes several days after the UNSC unanimously approved resolution 2401, which provides for the introduction of a ceasefire regime throughout Syria for a period of 30 days.

The decision on the resolution came nearly two weeks after the escalation of the situation in Eastern Ghouta, following the launch of a military operation by the Syrian government forces, in a bid to clear the region of militants.
Video: Syrian Plane Drops Leaflets Over Eastern Ghouta

The video shows how Syrian aircraft is dropping leaflets over the militant-held part of the Eastern Ghouta region, near Damascus. The move is aimed to inform locals about humanitarian corridors established by the Syrian and Russians to allow them to leave the besieged area.

Daily humanitarian pauses in the region was announced on February 26 by the Russian Defense Minsitry. However, so far, they have had only limited impact because militants sabotage the evacuation of civilians.