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International News
Thousands flee in first mass exodus from Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta
 
(EASTERN GHOUTA, Mar 15, 2018):Thousands of Syrian civilians fled from a rebel pocket in eastern Ghouta on Thursday, crossing by foot to army positions in the first mass exodus from the besieged enclave since Syrian government forces launched an assault to capture it a month ago.

Men, women and children staggered under the weight of blankets, bags and suitcases as they walked along a dirt road to army lines on the outskirts of Hammouriyeh town. Some wept.

One man carried a baby in a suitcase, the child’s head and arms peaking out through the zipper. Others reached government positions in the nearby town of Beit Sawa on wheelchairs.

“We had been trapped in the basements and did not dare come out, in the cellars and tunnels,” a man who left the rebel pocket to government territory told Reuters on the outskirts of Hammouriyeh. “We could not do anything.... There was no food.”

“There was no water, no electricity, no education for the children,” said another man from Hammouriyeh, Amer al-Shourbaji.

Another man, who gave his name as Abu al-Nour, told Reuters he had been in contact with people in army territory for days trying to arrange safe passage out.

“For eight days, we have coordinated with the soldiers, telling them we want to get the civilians out,” he said.

The exodus could prove a key moment in eastern Ghouta, one of the seven-year-old war’s biggest battles, in which the fate of civilians trapped in the siege zone has been central.

The United Nations has estimated 400,000 people had been under siege in eastern Ghouta, the last large rebel bastion near the capital Damascus, with little access to food or medicine.

The government and its Russian allies have been pounding the area with air strikes since mid-February and launched a ground assault that has seized much of the territory since last week, cutting towns off from each other.

Fighting has raged on there despite a U.N. Security Council demand for a ceasefire. Moscow and Damascus argue the enemies they target are members of terrorist groups unprotected by the truce. They say rebels are preventing civilians from escaping.

The rebels deny this and say most residents are now fleeing because of the government’s bombs falling on Ghouta.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, said at least 12,500 people left toward government territory. They came out of Hammouriyeh and Jisreen, which the army advanced into on Thursday, and other towns nearby.

“Every hour, over 800 people are leaving,” Russia’s RIA news agency cited Major General Vladimir Zolotukhin as saying.

Moscow has offered safe passage out to rebel fighters willing to surrender the territory, a tactic that has helped Damascus and its allies regain control over major cities in western Syria. The opposition says that amounts to forced displacement.


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Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign, says his son after court setback
Ceasefire for key Yemen port agreed at peace talks: UN
Britain's May sees no 'immediate breakthrough' at EU
Khashoggi, other journalists named Time 'Person of the Year'
May tours Europe in desperate bid to save Brexit deal
Trump's potential next chief of staff pick leaving White House
UK PM faces fight for her political life in Brexit deal
Iran arrests 10 over suicide attack on police
Trump chooses new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, against Mattis wishes
Merkel gets boost with ally's party win
Rouhani warns weakened Iran less able to fight trafficking
Trump may nominate Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador: Reports
Qatar injects more cash into Gaza for Hamas employees
Singer Mika Singh Detained in Dubai for Sending Obscene Messages to 17-year-old: Reports
Conditions Met for Assange to Leave Embassy in London, Says Ecuador President
Pakistan slashes non-salary budget by 10%
Moscow dismisses 'groundless' US claim Russia breaching arms treaty
AgustaWestland deal 'middleman' Christian Michel brought to India
Don't be like Hitler: sacked Lankan PM tells President Sirisena
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Vaikom Vijayalekshmi ties knot with Anoop
 Vaikom: Playback singer Vaikom Vijayalekshmi has tied knot with Anoop N. at Vaikom Mahadeva temple.  
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Sradha Kapoor as Saina Nehwal: First look poster is out.
KERALA NEWS
Activist Rehana Fathima, Who Attempted Sabarimala Trek, Arrested Over Facebook Post
 (Kochi, Nov 28, 2018): Model and activist Rehana Fathima, who tried to reach Kerala's Sabarim
Good news for Keralite Nurses: IELTS cut-off reduced to 6.5
BJP leader K Surendran, 71 others granted bail
Sabarimala protests: Arrests up to 2061, Kerala HC warns police
NATIONAL NEWS
Rahul Gandhi After Rafale Verdict: "Will Prove PM Helped Anil Ambani"
 (New Delhi, Dec 14, 2018):Hours after the Supreme Court's clean chit to the government on the
Author Amitav Ghosh Honoured With 54th Jnanpith Award
Poll results prove Ram Temple or communal polarisation doesn't cut ice with people: Sinha
Ashok Gehlot appeals to Cong workers in Raj to maintain peace
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