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UN: More Than 130,000 Have Fled Syria's Ghouta in 4 Weeks


People walk with their belongings as they flee the rebel-held town of Hammouriyeh, eastern Ghouta, Syria, March 15, 2018.

The United Nations voiced alarm on Tuesday at "spiralling new displacement" from the Syrian enclave of eastern Ghouta, after more than 133,000 people were estimated to have fled in four weeks, and where U.N. aid agencies still do not have access.

About 45,000 of those displaced are staying in eight collective shelters in the Damascus countryside. Roughly the same number of women, children and elderly men have left the overcrowded shelters after screening by government authorities.

"We are aware of screening taking place as civilians are leaving eastern Ghouta, but as you know we are not part of current evacuation deals or its implementation," Andrej Mahecic, spokesman of the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, told a briefing.

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