105,000 leave Eastern Ghouta

MOSCOW – Russia’s defence ministry said more than 105,000 people have left Syria’s Eastern Ghouta rebel enclave, including another 700 on Saturday since government forces began an assault to retake it a month ago, RIA news agency reported, citing the military.

RIA referred to evacuations taking place during “humanitarian pauses”. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main ally in the conflict, ordered daily five-hour ceasefires and the creation of a “humanitarian corridor” to allow civilians to leave Eastern Ghouta.

In the event, the offensive — among the fiercest of the seven-year civil war — was largely carried out in defiance of international pleas to halt and honour a truce, and about 90 per cent of eastern Ghouta is back under government control.

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