The Latest: Russia says 30,000 flea besieged east Ghouta

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments related to the war in Syria (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

The Russian military says more than 30,000 people have fled Syria’s besieged east Ghouta and that the flow is continuing.

Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying the civilians were leaving Saturday through a government-run humanitarian corridor monitored by the Russian military.

“As of this time, more than 30,000 people have left and people are continuing to exit,” he was quoted as saying Saturday afternnon by Russian news agencies.

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

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12:05 p.m.

Syrian opposition activists are reporting that dozens of people were killed and scores wounded when an airstrike hit a rebel-held town east of the capital Damascus.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 30 people were killed in Saturday’s airstrike on Zamalka that hit a group of people who were trying to flee into government-controlled areas.

The opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense said the airstrike killed dozens and wounded scores, adding that paramedics are trying to help people.

Tens of thousands of residents from the area known as eastern Ghouta have fled to government-controlled districts since Thursday.

Syrian state TV aired live footage showing hundreds of men, women and children carrying their belongings and marching from the town of Hamouria that was recently captured by Syrian troops.

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11:45 a.m.

Turkey’s military has rejected allegations it bombed a hospital in Afrin in northwestern Syria, where it’s engaged in an offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters.

The military tweeted aerial footage and photographs of the town’s general hospital from Saturday morning, showing it was intact. The army said in a statement the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units or YPG were trying to create a “negative perception” of the Turkish military.

On Friday, YPG official Redur Khalil and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported an airstrike on the hospital. The Observatory said 16 people were killed in the hospital including two pregnant women.

Turkey launched an offensive against the YPG on Jan. 20 to clear Afrin. The country considers the YPG a terror group and a wing of a Kurdish insurgency operating within its own border.

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9:30 a.m.

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.

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