Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Russian Federation in talks with last rebel group in Ghouta

Russian Federation in talks with last rebel group in Ghouta

The last Syrian rebel group in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, has begun withdrawing under an agreement with the government, state media report.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the news, saying that a deal brokered by regime ally Russian Federation would see fighters with the Jaish al-Islam faction leave Ghouta's main town of Douma for opposition-held territory in northern Syria.

There are also reports that the dominant militant group in Douma, so-called Jaish al-Islam, has struck a deal to evacuate the area. "Later, fighters rejecting the deal would exit the area while the others stay inside the city with their light weapons", the sources said, adding that Russia's military police would then be deployed inside Douma to take control of the town.

Rebel group Jaish al-Islam, which has not confirmed any deal with the Syrian government over eastern Ghouta, released five prisoners on Wednesday as part of a deal over Douma, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and state media said.

Maj. Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko, chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of the Syrian warring parties, said Sunday that the fighters are to hand over maps of mined areas and underground tunnels while leaving the Douma area of Eastern Ghouta.

There was no immediate comment from the Army of Islam.

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Syrian ally Russian Federation has struck a deal with rebels in the main town of the eastern Ghouta region to allow hundreds of civilians to leave along with fighters, a group monitoring Syria's conflict said on Sunday.

Syria has been locked in a devastating conflict since early 2011 when the regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

Also on Sunday, Hezbollah media said that an agreement had been reached with the rebel group to evacuate fighters to Jarablus, a town in northern Syria near the border with Turkey.

The deal over Douma would mark the end of a weeks-long push by Assad's forces to consolidate their control over eastern Ghouta, just outside the capital.

Damascus:China has donated $1 million in aid to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Syria to purchase food for the war-stricken Syrians, the Chinese Embassy in Syria has said. The assault on Eastern Ghouta since mid-February has killed more than 1,600 civilians and caused tens of thousands to flee into regime-held territory.

A convoy of vehicles carrying civilians from eastern Ghouta to Al Bab district are seen in Aleppo in Syria on April 03, 2018.

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