Russia: Thousands more fleeing eastern Ghouta via corridor

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Russia: Thousands more fleeing eastern Ghouta via corridor
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, civilians carry their belongings as they flee from fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels in Hamouria in eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, on Thursday, March. 15, 2018. Thousands streamed out of Syria's besieged, opposition-held enclave of eastern Ghouta on Thursday, crossing on foot and in pick-up trucks and tractors to government-held territory near the capital, Damascus, according to footage on state-run Syrian television. (SANA via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s military says more than 11,000 people have left Syria’s besieged eastern Ghouta outside the capital Damascus in the past few hours as government forces step up an offensive on the rebel enclave.

Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying that some 3,000 people have been leaving every hour Saturday through a government-run humanitarian corridor monitored by the Russian military.

Zolotukhin is spokesman for the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria.

Airstrikes in Syria killed more than 100 people on Friday as civilians fled en masse. Under cover of allied Russian air power, Syrian government forces have been on a crushing offensive for three weeks on eastern Ghouta.

The weekslong violence has left more than 1,300 civilians dead and 5,000 wounded.