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Broken by siege, Syria rebels face worst loss yet in Eastern Ghouta

06 April 2018

Russia-backed regime forces have retaken control of 95 percent of Eastern Ghouta since February 18 through a combination of a deadly air and ground assault and evacuation deals.

Geneva: The UN humanitarian adviser for Syria called on Wednesday for access to the eastern Ghouta town of Douma, where he said some 80,000-150,000 civilians were "on their knees" after years of siege and fighting.

Syria's state news agency SANA said the buses left Douma due to "differences between" rebels and "in order to let them sort out by themselves these differences".

Half a dozen Jaish al-Islam commanders, fighters and media officials told Syria Direct on Monday that the latest evacuation included only wounded civilians, denying pro-government reports that rebel fighters had departed the city. He did not wish to be named in this report for political reasons.

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The release of kidnapped people by the rebels was in light of the agreement reached between the Islam Army and the Syrian government forces that demands the rebels to release the people they kidnapped as a prelude for the evacuation of the militants out of Douma, according to SANA.

Military of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides in Syria took part in an operation to free five persons held hostage by militants in Douma, in Eastern Ghouta, the center's Head Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko said.

The Syrian government says it fires in response to shelling from Eastern Ghouta, but Western countries are accusing the Syrian government and Russian Federation of being responsible for the intensification of tensions in the area. Photo by Louai Beshara/Getty Images.

Russia's military also said Sunday that a preliminary agreement has been reached on the evacuation of Army of Islam fighters. Maj.

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While Jaish al-Islam and Failaq a-Rahman previously fought together against pro-government forces, the two factions share a long history of violent infighting for control of East Ghouta.

The girls tweeted that they are now in Turkey, away from danger, and hope to see all children of Syria live in peace and safety.

The departure of civilian authorities followed a Saturday morning meeting between several major civil society organizations and Jaish al-Islam leadership in Douma, in which the former requested that civilians be given the option to evacuate, pro-opposition news outlet al-Modon reported at the time.

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Broken by siege, Syria rebels face worst loss yet in Eastern Ghouta