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Deal Reached To Evacuate Rebels From Syria’s Douma


A Syrian boy puts out a fire amid destroyed buildings following government air strikes in the rebel-held enclave of Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus.

A final deal has been reached for Syrian rebel fighters and their families to leave the last opposition-held area of eastern Ghouta, paving the way for the government to recapture all of the one-time rebel enclave near Damascus.

The agreement would see fighters with the Jaish al-Islam rebel faction leave Ghouta's main town of Douma for opposition territory in northern Syria, state media and a monitoring group said on April 1.

State news agency SANA reported that the fighters have agreed to head to Jarablus, a town shared between rebel and Turkish control.

State media also said that a local council for Douma will be formed with the approval of the central government.

Earlier in the day, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported that Russia's military police would be deployed inside Douma to take custodianship of the town.

There was no immediate comment from the rebels.

Douma was one of the earliest hubs of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.

The Syrian Army and its allies responded by putting Douma and other suburbs around Damascus under siege, bombing hospitals and residential areas, and blocking food and medical relief.

According to the monitoring group, a military offensive by Syrian government forces and their allies that involved weeks of intense bombardment, has left more than 1,600 civilians dead and thousands more wounded in the area since February 18.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP
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