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Syrian rebels 'agree to leave' Douma following chemical attack Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Syrian rebels 'agree to leave' Douma following chemical attack

Douma has come under intense bombardment again [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 April, 2018

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Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Islam have agreed to leave the besieged Douma, hours after a chemical attack was launched on the Damascus suburb killing dozens of civilians.
Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Islam have agreed to leave the town of Douma, hours after a chemical attack killed scores of civilians and created terror in the Damascus suburbs.

Both Russian and Syrian regime state media have reported that an agreement has been reached between the rebels and regime.

It will see the fighters and their families leave the Eastern Ghouta region for Jarabalus, in the north of Syria.

Russian Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko, head of the so-called peace and reconciliation centre in Syria - which has been used to move out rebels and civilians of other areas - said "irreconciable militants" would begin to leave Douma on Sunday.

Syria's SANA state news agency said "the departure of all so-called Jaish al-Islam terrorists to Jarablus [would take place] within 48 hours".

Similar reports earlier this week have not come to fruition, while negotiations took place.

The lull in regime bombing was broken on Friday and Saturday with a torrent of airstrikes and chlorine on civilian areas in Douma.

Saturday night, a suspected sarin chemical attack killed dozens of civilians and created widespread panic in the area.

Talks began again on Sunday but were interrupted by more air strikes on the town. Negotiations are thought to be on-going, according to opposition sites.

Jaish al-Islam had reportedly insisted before on staying behind as a local police force.

The once opposition stronghold of Eastern Ghouta was subject to weeks of crippling bombing over the past weeks, with a ground offensive and negotiations seeing rebels and civilians leave the district.

Douma is the last opposition town in Eastern Ghouta and was subject to a sarin chemical attack in 2013.

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