Syria says over 40,000 left Ghouta on Thursday

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria’s U.N. ambassador says more than 40,000 civilians left the rebel-held Damascus suburbs of eastern Ghouta in a single day through a new security corridor opened by the government in the city of Hamouria.

Bashar Ja’afari told the U.N. Security Council on Friday that following the government takeover of Hamouria from “terrorists” on Thursday the government was assisting the evacuation of civilians “who were taken as human shields by terrorist groups.”

He said the government and Syrian Red Crescent were coordinating to facilitate the safe transport of people from eastern Ghouta “to temporary shelters that are equipped with all the necessary equipment.”

Ja’afari said the government will allow convoys with medical supplies and other aid into the area “if the security circumstances allow.”

He accused the U.N. and other governments of doing nothing to alleviate the suffering “of tens of thousands of people who have tried to flee terrorism.”