Syrian Army advances in Ghouta towards Kafr Batna, Saqba

Mikhail Dzhaparidze  TASS

Civilians run for cover from explosions in the city of Afrin in northern Syria on March 18, 2018, after Turkish forces and their rebel allies took control of the Kurdish-majority city.

Figures close to the two main rebel groups - Failaq al-Rahman in the southern pocket and Jaish al-Islam in the northern enclave - have told Reuters discussions are underway for the transfer of Failaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam fighters to opposition held areas in northern and southern Syria respectively.

International Committee of the Red Cross President Peter Maurer accompanied an aid convoy into eastern Ghouta on Thursday.

The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming any civilians.

Throughout the day some 20,000 people did manage to stream out of the last rebel stronghold near Damascus, taking the total number to escape the carnage over the past three days to an estimated 50,000, the monitor said.

"Fighting is ongoing inside the city, where Turkish forces and allied rebels have seized some neighbourhoods", the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

Hamadin said the FSA entered the town from the north, east and west and that fleeing YPG members had withdrawn to regime-held areas to the south of the town.

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The Observatory said 30 people were killed in a Saturday morning airstrike on Zamalka that hit a group of people trying to flee into government-controlled areas.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday visited Syrian soldiers who appear close to defeating the last major opposition foothold near Damascus and met some of the many thousands of people uprooted during the government offensive.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director said thousands of civilians had fled eastern Ghouta's town of Hammouriyeh on Thursday.

The World Food Programme said it was distributing food to 25,000 people in the nearby towns of Nubl and Zahra, including people just arriving from Afrin.

In other parts of the country, Turkey's military rejected allegations it bombed a hospital in Afrin in northwestern Syria, where it's engaged in an offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters.

France's foreign minister said Turkey's concerns for its border security did not justify "the deep incursion of Turkish troops in the Afrin zone", which could also weaken global action against remaining Islamic State fighters in Syria.

Turkey and its Syrian Arab rebel allies have waged a almost two-month offensive on the Afrin enclave, which is held by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

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