Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Russian Federation in talks with last rebel group in Ghouta

Russian Federation in talks with last rebel group in Ghouta

But the dispute emerged as some of the rebels refused to leave Douma, the last rebel-held stronghold in Eastern Ghouta after 43,000 rebels and their families had been evacuated to the Idlib province in northwestern Syria.

It said those on board were fighters and family members belonging to the Army of Islam, the largest rebel group in eastern Ghouta.

They were now negotiating with the armed group inside Douma, the last remaining area under armed opposition control, adviser Jan Egeland said, adding that the United Nations was playing no direct role.

Also, SANA reported that fighters alligned with another rebel group, Faylaq al-Rahman, left Douma in buses sent by the Syrian government on Sunday.

The Russian military says on Wednesday it expects an opposition evacuation from the suburbs of the Syrian capital to be completed in the coming days.

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On April 2 a first wave of evacuations begins from Douma, with more than 1,100 people, Jaish al-Islam fighters and family members, setting off to northern rebel-held Jarabulus, according to state news agency SANA.

It was not immediate possible to confirm the details of the deal and there was no comment from the Army of Islam.

Jaish al-Islam has not yet confirmed the accord, amid reports hardliners within the group were refusing to leave their positions.

The militants headed to the rebel-held city of Jarablus in northern Syria near the Turkish border.

The deal struck between the Army of Islam and the Russian military marks the end of a weekslong push by the Syrian government to consolidate its control of the suburbs.

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Rebel fighters had held Ghouta since 2012, and recapturing it will be seen as a victory for Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

"China will continue to provide humanitarian aid to Syria through bilateral cooperation with the Syrian government or worldwide organisations", Qi said on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Syria s war has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced millions since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests. Russian Federation is a key backer of the Syrian government.

Syria's army has discovered a complex network of secret tunnels in eastern Ghouta, including subterranean hospitals and strategic corridors used by rebel fighters to move weaponry and ammunitions.

Since Feb. 19, more than 1,400 victims have been killed in attacks by the regime and its allies in Eastern Ghouta, according to local civil-defense sources.

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