Last rebels in E Ghouta poised to surrender to govt

  • Last rebels in E Ghouta poised to surrender to govt

Last rebels in E Ghouta poised to surrender to govt

The Jaish al Islam group is said to have agreed to give up its arms in return for safe passage out of the city of Douma.

It was not clear if the step would pave the way toward a broader deal to evacuate fighters in an arrangement similar to one that was brokered by the other main rival rebel group, Failaq al Rahman, with Moscow that has allowed most of its fighters to leave their former areas of control.

Regime forces had already retaken more than 95 per cent of Eastern Ghouta in a six-week air and ground blitz that forced tens of thousands from their homes.

Division within ranks of fighters?

The Reconciliation Center in Syria, tasked by the Russian Defense Ministry with restoring stability in the war-torn country, says "a preliminary agreement has been reached for extremists from the "Jaysh al-Islam" group to leave eastern Ghouta".

Douma is the last town to hold out against government forces in the once rebel-held suburbs.

Russian Federation has been a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, ultimately helping to turn the tide of the devastating civil war in his favor.

The Syrian government dispatched more than 50 buses to Douma to take the rebels out, SANA reported.

On Saturday the rebel group concluded a week-long evacuation of thousands of its fighters from areas it had controlled in other parts of the enclave.

Talks between the state and the Jaysh al-Islam insurgent group that holds Douma have so far failed, making further military action likely.

Eight buses transporting the rebels left Douma and reached the crossing of Wafideen area northeast of Damascus, waiting for more rebels to leave so that the first convoy of Islam Army rebels can set off to Jarablus in the northern countryside of Aleppo province near the Turkish border.

A Syrian military source was quoted as saying that some of the fighters were rejecting the deal.

"There are attempts to convince the hardline wing of Jaish Al Islam not to obstruct the agreement with the Russians", said the head of the Britain-based monitor, Rami Abdel Rahman.

"This operation was part of the Coalition's mission to defeat ISIS, and we remain focused on our mission".

The deal is for humanitarian cases, Salah said, but "no one wants to leave".

Jaish al Islam counts around 10,000 fighters, according to SOHR.

Backed by Russia, Assad's forces have scored a series of victories over opposition forces in recent years, often through campaigns of siege, aerial bombardment and ground offensives that have drawn widespread worldwide condemnation.

A man had a gun slung on his shoulder as he picked up a travel bag, while a young boy, who appeared weak and unable to move his limbs, was carried into an ambulance.

Syria's conflict has killed more than 350,000 people since 2011 and spiralled into a complex war involving world powers.