Drone footage shows destruction in Syria's Douma

05 April, 2018, 01:47 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Saudis publicly oppose U.S. exiting Syria while Israel objects quietly

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that some rebels had left Douma, a part of eastern Ghouta, a sprawling suburban zone lying east of the capital, Damascus.

The situation in Eastern Ghouta has been tense over the past months, resulting in constant shelling by militants of Damascus and fire from the Syrian pro-government forces.

Syrian government forces, backed by Russian Federation, have now recaptured almost all of eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, from the rebels in a ferocious assault that began in February, marking a major victory for President Bashar al-Assad.

It will mark his biggest victory over the opposition fighting to unseat him since the recovery of eastern Aleppo in 2016.

"There are divisions among the Jaish al-Islam group on their leaving but we are continuing preparations", the military source said.

State television said buses carrying 448 people, including fighters of the Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) group and their families, left Ghouta's main town of Douma on April 2.

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"The armed forces' formations, aided by allied forces, wrapped up military operations in Damascus Countryside's Eastern Ghouta, with full control established all over its cities and towns", said the statement.

The state news agency SANA said on Wednesday buses had entered Douma for the third consecutive day to evacuate more rebel fighters and their families to the northern Syrian city of Jarablus, near the border with Turkey.

Between March and May 2017, thousands are evacuated from Waer, Homs's last rebel-held neighbourhood, allowing regime forces to fully retake control of Syria's third-largest city.

According to United Nations officials, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict to date.

Since February 19, more than 1,600 people have been killed in attacks by the regime and its allies in eastern Ghouta, according to local civil-defence sources. The Syrian news agency added that on Monday civilians will start returning to Harasta, one of the towns freed from terrorism in Eastern Ghouta, after roads and bridges are cleared of ruble and debris.

Assad, who has military support from Iran and Russian Federation, now controls the bulk of Syria, though it may be hard for him to recover much more territory without risking a collision with other foreign powers that have forces inside the country. Turkey, with support from rebels, is running its own military operations against a US -backed Kurdish party that controls territory along the frontier.

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