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Civilians flee as two big Syria battles enter decisive phases

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Children look through a bus window during evacuation from the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, in Damascus, Syria, March 13. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Thousands of civilians were fleeing from besieged enclaves on opposite ends of Syria on Friday as two major battles in the multi-sided war entered decisive phases, with hundreds of thousands of people trapped in the path of both assaults.

Air strikes killed scores of people in eastern Ghouta, a war monitor said, and weary residents streamed out on foot for a second day, as Russian-backed government forces pressed their campaign to capture the last big rebel bastion near Damascus.

On another front, Turkish and allied rebel forces shelled the northern Kurdish-held town of Afrin heavily, killing at least 27 people and forcing 2,500 people to flee, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor reported.

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Reuters

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