Syrians flee government advances in eastern Ghouta

Syrians flee government advances in eastern GhoutaBy Tom Perry and Stephanie Nebehay BEIRUT/GENEVA (Reuters) – Thousands of civilians have fled advances by Syrian government forces in eastern Ghouta over the last two days, a war monitor and a resident said, as Damascus makes rapid gains in a fierce assault against the last major rebel enclave near the capital. Government forces need to advance just a few more kilometers (miles) further to split the enclave in two, said a commander in the military alliance that backs President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces had seized around a quarter of eastern Ghouta in a ground assault that got underway on Feb. 27, building on a ferocious air and artillery bombardment that has killed hundreds.

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