Russia says 65 percent of Syria's eastern Ghouta is free of rebels: RIA

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People who fled eastern Ghouta gather as they receive aid from Russian forces at a shelter in Adra

People who fled eastern Ghouta gather as they receive aid from Russian forces at a shelter in Adra, near Damascus, Syria, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that 65 percent of territory in Syria's eastern Ghouta had been "liberated from terrorists," the RIA news agency reported.

His ministry said earlier on Tuesday that the total number of civilians, mostly children, who had been evacuated from the district since the start of a humanitarian operation has risen to 79,702.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Andrew Osborn)