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Over 13,000 civilians leave Eastern Ghouta — Russian Defense Ministry

Around 20,000 civilians may leave Eastern Ghouta on March 16

MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. More than 13,000 civilians have left Syria’s Eastern Ghouta since Thursday morning, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

"Since the morning of March 16, a total of 1,972 people left the Hammuria, Saqba and Hazze settlements, most of them being women, children and elderly people. In the past two days, over 13,000 civilians have left Eastern Ghouta," the statement reads.

Around 20,000 civilians may leave Eastern Ghouta on Friday, head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria Major General Vladimir Zolotukhin told reporters.

Since February 27, daily humanitarian pauses from 09:00 to 14:00 have been in effect in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, aimed at providing civilians and unarmed militants with an opportunity to leave the area. Militants disrupted humanitarian pauses in the first several days but later shelling attacks ceased, so civilians have been leaving the enclave through a humanitarian corridor every day, On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the cessation of military activities in the town of Duma, which made it possible to ensure a massive exit of civilians to the territory controlled by Syrian government forces.