Assad's forces have seized over a quarter of the enclave on Damascus's eastern edges after two weeks of devastating bombardment, according to a war monitor.
As the United States, Britain and France stepped up pressure on Damascus and Moscow to call off the assault, the United Nations said it plans to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to Eastern Ghouta's residents.
"The majority (of people) in Eastern Ghouta want to escape the embrace of terrorism. The operation must continue," Assad told journalists in remarks broadcast on state television.
Regime backer Russia last week announced daily five-hour "humanitarian pauses" in Eastern Ghouta. But while the air campaign has eased, fighting has intensified on the ground.
Assad said civilians would still have "the possibility" to evacuate the enclave, while denying there was any contradiction between a truce and ongoing fighting.
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