Assad's media says main remaining rebel faction leaving Eastern Ghouta

Buses have left Eastern Ghouta carrying fighters and family from a last rebel holdout, according to Syrian state television. If so, President Bashar al-Assad's regime could soon take full control east of Damascus.


The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also spoke of rebels leaving Douma, a part of Eastern Ghouta, a sprawling suburban zone lying east of the Syrian capital Damascus.
Syria's initial statements spoke of two buses and then four buses leaving the rebels' last stronghold in the area.
On Sunday, Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said that a deal had been reachedfor the faction, Jaish al-Islam, or Army of Islam, to leave Douma.
They were expected to head to Jarablus, a town in northern Syria shared between rebels and Turkish forces.
An earlier evacuation from Douma

There was no immediate comment on Monday from the rebels themselves.

"A group of buses carrying a number of Jaish al-Islam terrorists and their families leave Douma in preparation of them being transported to Jarablus," Syria's state news agency SANA reported.

Six-week assault

Since starting their assault mid-February, Assad's forces have retaken 95 percent of Eastern Ghouta, according to the Observatory. Some 1,600 civilians were killed and tens of thousands displaced.
Syria's war, begun in 2011 with Assad's repression of anti-regime protests, has claimed more than 350,000 lives and displaced many millions, both inside its borders and to neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.


ipj/msh (Reuters, AP, AFP,dw.com)

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