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Civilians escape fighting in E Ghouta
March 18, 2018, 8:19 am

Russia says that it is only targeting areas that are being used by Islamist rebels to launch shelling of the capital Damascus [Image: Defense Ministry of Russia]

The Russian military says that more than 20,000 people fled the fighting between Syrian government forces and Islamist rebels in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus on Sunday.

The civilians have been using humanitarian corridors agreed to by the Russians and Syrians for the past two weeks, but the numbers sometimes slow to a trickle leaving the city amid air strikes and shelling.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said air raids on the Eastern Ghouta district of Zamalka killed 30 people who were about make use of the humanitarian corridor.

The Russian military says it only targets Islamist rebels who control Eastern Ghouta.

Ghouta has been demarcated into three zones currently under fire from a Syrian government land operation.

In the meantime, Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, told the Security Council that the Russian military was able to broker a ceasefire with a number of Islamist rebels under the banner of Jaish Al Islam in the district of Douma only.

Douma is one of the three zones facing a land offensive from the Syrian Army.

He said that the UN was trying to persuade the militants holed up in the other two zones to also implement a ceasefire to allow civilians to leave.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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