The Syrian army continues its counter-terrorism operation in the Eastern Ghouta region, from where militants launch deadly attacks on civilians in the capital, Damascus.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which is sympathetic to the anti-Damascus militants, also confirmed intense fighting on several fronts in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday.
The fresh fighting came one day after Syrian troops managed to cut off the largest town in Eastern Ghouta from the rest of the militant-held enclave.
Government “forces have therefore divided Eastern Ghouta into three parts, Douma and its surroundings, Harasta in the west, and the rest of the towns further south,” according to the SOHR.
Holed up inside Eastern Ghouta, foreign-backed militants have been launching indiscriminate mortar and rocket attacks on Damascus, which have resulted in many civilian deaths.
The Syrian army, backed by the Russian air force, is conducting an operation to liberate the region from the grip of terrorists.
Syria has established a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to leave the operation zone, while Russia has been enforcing daily pauses in fighting to facilitate people's exit.
Separately on Sunday, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported that terrorists had targeted with a mortar shell a safe corridor set up for the evacuation of civilians from Eastern Ghouta.
The al-Nusra Front and other affiliated terror groups prevented civilians from leaving through the safe passage near al-Wafideen Camp, the report said.
Meanwhile, Major General Vladimir Zolotukhin, of the Russian peace and reconciliation center in Syria, said talks were underway with Eastern Ghouta militants to ensure safe exit for civilians.
The Russian center and the Syrian army "are further holding negotiations with members of outlawed armed groups in Eastern Ghouta on the exit of the civilians from the area. The militants are considering letting several dozens of residents leave the area in exchange for free exit together with their families with guaranteed safety," he said.
Zolotukhin further called on the militants to leave Eastern Ghouta and let civilians do the same.
On February 24, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution demanding a month-long ceasefire across Syria to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries and medical evacuations, but that has failed to reduce terrorist attacks on civilians.