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Syrian regime declares besieged Eastern Ghouta enclave fully retaken

The Syrian regime launched a devastating assault on 18 February to retake Eastern Ghouta. [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 April, 2018

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The Syrian regime, backed by Russia, launched a devastating assault on 18 February to retake the opposition-held enclave, killing more than 1,700 civilians and injuring thousands more.

Syria's army on Saturday officially declared that all opposition forces had left Eastern Ghouta, two months after a devastating military campaign which killed hundreds of civilians.

"All terrorists have left Douma, the last of their holdouts in Eastern Ghouta," state news agency SANA quoted an army spokesman as saying, using the regime's usual term for opposition rebels.

"Areas of Eastern Ghouta in rural Damascus have been fully cleansed of terrorism," an army spokesman also said in a statement delivered on state television.

Earlier this week Russian defence officials said Syrian forces had taken over full control of the besieged Damascus suburb, raising the regime flag in the town of Douma.

At the time, the Syrian regime had not yet officially announced it has fully retaken Eastern Ghouta.

The Syrian regime, backed by Russia, launched a devastating assault on 18 February to retake the opposition-held enclave, killing more than 1,700 civilians and injuring thousands more.

Douma is the main town in Eastern Ghouta, whose 400,000 inhabitants have lived under a regime siege since 2013.

The United Nations called conditions in the enclave, where the regime used starvation as a method of warfare, as "hell on earth".

The regime was accused of carrying out a chemical weapons attack last week in Douma, which killed over 60 civilians.

The United States, France and Britain responded on Saturday with pre-dawn strikes on alleged regime chemical weapons sites.

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