March 24, 2018 / 10:19 AM / 9 months ago

Russia says over 105,000 civilians have left Syria's Eastern Ghouta: RIA

FILE PHOTO: A girl looks out of a bus window during evacuation from the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, in Damascus, Syria March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

MOSCOW (Reuters) - 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 honor a truce, and about 90 percent of eastern Ghouta is back under government control.

Reporting by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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