Rebel fighters in Syria's Douma ready to lay down arms - Russian Federation

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28 March, 2018

Mehmet Yuva from the University of Damascus has recalled that Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria was followed by the liberation of Eastern Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, which he said "evidently means that all these processes are interrelated".

Assad's forces controlled the entirety of the city of Harasta, which headed the departure negotiations, from which about 4 thousand civilians and fighters left in 85 buses, according to a census, which Enab Baladi managed to get from the city's "local council".

Before the recent offensive, the suburb had an estimated population of 400,000.

Negotiations are now under way with Islamist group Jaish al-Islam, which controls Ghouta's largest town, Douma.

But divisions within opposition ranks were holding up the talks, Abdel Rahman told AFP.

One, implemented last week, saw hardline Islamist rebels from Ahrar al-Sham leave the battered town of Harasta in the west of the enclave.

A total of six people were set free on Monday night from the rebels' captivity in the capital Damascus' Eastern Ghouta, state news agency SANA reported.

Moscow has brokered talks with the rebel groups that control the three remaining pockets of the enclave.

State TV and the government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media said more than 500 fighters and their relatives left Saturday night toward northern Syria, and hundreds more evacuated the following day.

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Four major rebel groups are now positioned inside Eastern Ghouta, namely the Islam Army, Failaq al-Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham, and the Levant Liberation Committee, known as the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

Almost 6,800 members of the Faylaq al-Rahman militant group and their family members left the Arbil settlement in Syria's Eastern Ghouta on Monday, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

In the rebel-held northwestern city of Idlib, a auto bomb exploded near a court building killing at least six people and wounding 25, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the opposition's Syrian Civil Defence.

Jaish al-Islam would lay down its heavy weapons in exchange for government-provided water and electricity returning to the town.

Al-Watan, a newspaper close to the Syrian government, reported Tuesday that military forces were already amassing around Douma.

"But I could never live alongside regime forces".

Russian President Vladimir Putin, seen with Assad, visited Syria in December 2017 and said some Russian troops would begin withdrawing from the country but has continued to provide military support to Assad's forces.

"We used to eat every three days".

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