Biggest convoy of evacuees leaves Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Alan Olson
March 28, 2018

More than 1,600 civilians have been killed in the operation, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor. The Syrian Government forces, committed to rebuilding the social and economic infrastructure damaged by the war in Eastern Ghouta, recovered more than 80 percent of this territory from the control of terrorists.

They arrived Tuesday afternoon to the Qalaat al-Madiq area of central Hama province, a staging ground frequently used in such deals, an AFP correspondent said.

Mayss Ahmad scans busloads of evacuees exiting a bombed-out town near Damascus, determined to see her long-lost father and brother again after they spent years in rebel captivity.

To help the regime capture the rest, Moscow began talks with the rebels in each area.

The first agreement, with hardline Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham, saw more than 4,500 people, including rebel fighters, leave the town of Harasta last week. Should rebels lose their grip on Douma, their last stronghold in Eastern Ghouta, the opposition would be left with most of Idlib, Daraa and some parts of the northern suburbs of Homs. The official also explained that sappers, who defused hundreds of mines located in the tunnels, found field hospitals with sophisticated health devices. "We all need to be patient", the council said in a statement.

"The Russians don't want an agreement for Douma that's different from other parts of Ghouta, but Jaish al-Islam wants to stay and doesn't want any residents to leave", the source said.

Hezbollah-run Al-Manar TV said the Army of Islam, which is only negotiating with Russian Federation, was refusing to discuss the release of prisoners and was obstructing the talks.

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The Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Reconciliation in Syria said in a statement that more than 400 people left Douma early Monday.

Syria's pro-government Al-Watan daily said the parties had three days to study the proposal.

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

In Douma, residents were torn. My father died here.

"But I could never live alongside regime forces", he added.

About 16,000 people have fled Douma using the route in recent days.

Eastern Ghouta, a 105-square-km agricultural region consisting of several towns and farmlands, poses the last threat to the capital due to its proximity to government-controlled neighborhoods east of Damascus and ongoing mortar attacks that target residential areas in the capital, pushing people over the edge.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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