40,000 return to Syria

MOSCOW – Russia’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that more than 40,000 civilians who had fled Syria’s eastern Ghouta have returned, Interfax agency reported.

The government offensive on Ghouta has been one of the deadliest of the war, killing more than 1600 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The government says it is restoring security to Damascus, which was regularly shelled from eastern Ghouta during the war.

In the past 24 hours, 1123 rebel fighters and their families have left the town of Douma.

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