Syrian troops and their allies pushed deeper into the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta enclave late Wednesday under the cover of heavy artillery shelling and airstrikes, activists and a monitor group said.
The forces made a strategic advance into the town of Hamouriyeh South in Eastern Ghouta, the Britain-based Syrian Obsevratory for Human Right said.
It said government forces managed to take some buildings and farms in Hamouriyeh, which were controlled by the Faylaq al-Sham rebel group.
Activists in Eastern Ghouta warned that there are some 5,000 civilians trapped inside Hamouriyeh and that some have tried to escape the area amid the shelling.
“The fate of those who tried to escape is still unknown,” activist Youssef Bustany said.
Bustany warned that if the regime soldiers and their allies entered the town a masscare against civilian could take place.
Siraj Mahmoud, a member of the White Helmets rescue group said “no one is able to enter the town to save the women and children and people stuck under the rubble due to the heavy shelling.”
Earlier Wednesday, more people were evacuated from the Eastern Ghouta area, on the outskirts of Damascus, for the second consecutive day, Syrian state media and the Observatory said.
The Observatory said 25 civilians were evacuated.
The official SANA news agency said scores of civilians left Eastern Ghouta through the “safe corridor” at the al-Wafideen crossing point and that transport buses and ambulances would then transport them to makeshift centres outside Damascus.
The first batch of evacuees on Tuesday included up to 147 people, according to a UN estimate.
Wednesday’s evacuations took place as heavy shelling targeted Hamouriyeh and other areas in Eastern Ghouta, killing 25 people and injuring 200 over 36 hours.
Eastern Ghouta is one of the last remaining areas under rebel control near the Syrian capital. It has been the target of government attacks in a campaign that began last month.
The Observatory said Wednesday that in four months 1992 people, among them 426 children, were killed in Eastern Ghouta, while some 7042 were wounded.
A total of 400,000 people have been largely cut off from humanitarian aid in Eastern Ghouta, which has been under siege by government forces for the past four years.