March 8, 2018 / 11:42 AM / 10 months ago

Syrian army opens second evacuation corridor out of eastern Ghouta

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian government has opened a second corridor out of the besieged rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta, state media said on Thursday.

The new corridor was for civilians, “who are besieged by terrorist groups in eastern Ghouta, to leave through the Jisreen-Mleha road,” state new agency SANA said, citing one of its correspondents.

That lies to the south of the last major rebel enclave near Damascus, which is under fierce attack from pro-Syrian government forces.

Syria’s army was on Thursday poised to slice the enclave in two as forces advancing from the east link up with troops at its western edge, a pro-Damascus commander said.

The government is backed in the war by Russia and Iran in a ferocious campaign that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says has killed 898 civilians in the last 18 days.

Russia said this week rebels and civilians could leave through a secure corridor located in the north of the enclave.

Reporting by Lisa Barrington; editing by John Stonestreet

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