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Syria war: Thousands flee twin offensives in Afrin and Ghouta

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As many as 50,000 people have fled separate offensives against rebel forces in northern and southern Syria in recent days, activists say.

Russian air strikes reportedly killed 31 people in the Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus on Friday, after 20,000 people left the region.

Turkish shelling killed 18 people on Friday in the northern town of Afrin, where 30,000 people have fled.

Seven years of war have driven nearly 12 million Syrians from their homes.

At least 6.1 million are internally displaced while another 5.6 million have fled abroad.

More than 400,000 are believed to have been killed or are missing, presumed dead, since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

The foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia and Iran - three countries closely involved in the conflict - have met in the Kazakh capital Astana to prepare for a summit on Syria in Istanbul next month.
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