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Thousands flee Syria army advance in north


A picture taken on March 3, 2017 shows Syrian government forces driving up a road in the ancient city of Plamyra in central Syria.<br />Syrian troops backed by Russian jets completed the recapture of the historic city of Palmyra from the Islamic State group on March 2, the Kremlin and the army said, in another blow to the jihadists.<br />STRINGER / AFP

Tens of thousands of Syrian civilians have fled advancing Russian-backed regime forces fighting Islamic State group jihadists in the north over the past week, a monitoring group said Saturday.

Most of the more than 30,000 fleeing civilians in Aleppo province were women and children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It said the army had retaken several villages from IS during a vast offensive that was still ongoing on Saturday.

Most of the civilians who fled went to areas around Manbij, under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters backed by the United States that is also fighting IS, it said.

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