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Ceasefire in Syria’s Ghouta will be extended, says Russia

The Russian defence ministry said that 2,000 people had left the rebel-held suburbs by early morning on Friday.

The Russian military and Syrian government are extending a ceasefire in rebel-held suburbs of Damascus for as long as it takes to allow all civilians to leave the area, according to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Mr Lavrov, who is visiting Kazakhstan, said the ceasefire will be extended “until all (civilians) leave” the enclave known as eastern Ghouta.

The Russian defence ministry said that 2,000 people had left the rebel-held suburbs by early morning on Friday.

Thursday saw the largest single-day exodus of civilians in Syria’s civil war.

Tens of thousands emerged from Hamouria and other opposition towns to escape the onslaught.

The civilians were fleeing as Syrian government troops, backed by Russian aircraft, pushed further into eastern Ghouta.

Elsewhere, Turkish forces are pushing their way into the northern Kurdish-held town of Afrin.

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