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Syrian opposition to quit Eastern Ghouta's Douma Open in fullscreen

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Syrian opposition to quit Eastern Ghouta's Douma

Much of Douma will be emptied of its inhabitants [AFP]

Date of publication: 1 April, 2018

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Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Islam have agreed to hand over the last opposition area of Eastern Ghouta to the Syrian regime.

Syrian rebels have reached a "final deal" with the Bashar al-Assad's regime that will see them quit the last opposition area of Eastern Ghouta, media reported Sunday.

Jaish al-Islam and civilians will leave the town of Douma as part of an "evacuation deal" reached with Russia, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said Sunday.

Pro-regime newspaper al-Watan reported "diplomatic sources" saying a deal had been reached with the Jaish al-Islam rebel group that would see fighters put down heavy weapons and leave Douma for north Syria.

There have been numerous reports this week of deals reached between the two sides, before Jaish al-Islam rejected the rumours.

Earlier, it was reported that Eastern Ghouta will be emptied of its last civilians as a deal is struck between the Syrian regime and rebel groups in control of the town of Douma.

Around 1,300 civilians will quit Douma as part of so-called evacuation deals, which will see them leave their homes for other opposition areas in Syria.

"A partial agreement was reached to evacuate hundreds of civilians who wish to leave for Idlib", Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

"Negotiations were continuing for a full agreement, including concerning the Jaish al-Islam," he added.

A civilians committee confirmed to the news agency that a deal had been agreed with Russia.

Douma remains the last area of the once opposition stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, still in the hands of the rebels.

A huge bombing campaign of the area over a month killed 1,600 civilians and force rebel groups and civilians to leave the area for opposition Idlib.

The Syrian regime has vowed to capture Douma, which is controlled by Jaish al-Islam.

Tens of thousands of civilians have left other opposition areas following the regime and Russian assault.

Pro-regime media and the military have said they are preparing to empty Eastern Ghouta of the last "terrorists", a term it uses to refer to all opposition groups.

Syria has suffered around half a million deaths, since war broke out in 2011 when protests were brutally suppressed by the regime.

The vast majority of the victims are civilians who have died from Syrian regime bombing.

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