World News

Rebel group Jeish al-Islam begin withrawal from Syria's Ghouta

Rebel group Jeish al-Islam begin withrawal from Syria's Ghouta

Deadly air strikes slammed into the last opposition-held town in Syria's Eastern Ghouta on Friday for the first time in over a week, after talks sputtered over a rebel withdrawal.

Syria's state news agency SANA said Syrian air strikes hit the town on Friday in response to rebel mortar fire from Douma that wounded seven people near the capital.

For a week the bombardment had subsided as Moscow pursued peace talks with Jaish al-Islam, the rebel faction holding the town.

Evacuations from the rebel-held town of Douma near the Syrian capital were suspended on Thursday, days after hundreds of opposition fighters and their relatives left for areas of the country's north as part of a surrender deal following a massive government offensive.

"The regime is trying to tighten the noose around Douma from the west, east, and south", said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Defeated rebel groups in other parts of eastern Ghouta have accepted safe passage to opposition areas near the Turkish border.

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A medic inside Douma described to AFP chaos at the local hospital as wounded and dead were brought in.

A commander in the regional military alliance that backs Mr Assad said Jaish al-Islam's only option was to accept safe passage to rebel-held areas northeast of Aleppo as talks overseen by Russian Federation had collapsed.

A source at Damascus Police Command told SANA that the terrorists of Jaish al-Islam fortified in Douma city fired mortars on the Masaken Barzeh neighborhood, claiming the life of a child and injuring 6 civilians, some of them having sustained serious injuries, not to mention the material damage to houses and public properties. Top Jaish al-Islam political figure Mohammad Alloush on Friday blamed power struggles between the regime's allies.

The regime and its ally Russian Federation launched a blistering air and ground offensive on Eastern Ghouta in mid-February, killing more than 1,600 civilians and causing an worldwide outcry.

Tens of thousands of people are estimated to be sheltering in Douma, the Observatory says.

The group appears to have little leverage, however, to face the regime's recovered might, and the latest strikes raised fears of a brutal end to the five-year-old siege of Eastern Ghouta.


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