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5-hour Russia-backed truce starts in Syria’s E. Ghouta

A five-hour truce called by Russia started on Tuesday in the Syrian rebel-held eastern Ghouta near Damascus. The stated aim is to allow civilians to escape the area. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the truce from 9am to 2pm (07:00GMT to 12:00GMT) and the creation of a “humanitarian corridor.” Calm has generally prevailed in the eastern Ghouta since midnight, although four rockets had hit the town of Douma in the morning, Reuters said. Eastern Ghouta is the last major stronghold for rebels fighting the government troops of President Bashar Assad, who has driven insurgents from numerous areas. The UN Security Council resolution passed on Saturday demanded a 30-day truce across Syria.