United Nations seeks access to Syrians in eastern Ghouta's Douma

12th convoy departs E. Ghouta amid evacuation deal

Has the US president lost the plot in Syria?

Eastern Qalamoun is the last stronghold for the Faylaq Al Rahman and Jaish Al Islam rebel groups, after their evacuation from eastern Ghouta. On April 2 a first wave of evacuations begins from Douma, with more than 1,100 people, Jaish al-Islam fighters and family members, setting off to northern rebel-held Jarabulus, according to state news agency SANA. He said "humanitarian cases" would be allowed to evacuate on Monday.

Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy of the Russian General Staff told a conference on Wednesday that the rebel fighters were still leaving the town of Douma, but he expected the evacuation to wrap up in the coming days.

"The rebels and local councils are trying to spare the populated towns from a fate similar to the one of eastern Ghouta, they seek to let people stay in their homes and avoid large-scale destruction of the area", Abdullah Abdul Karim, a journalist based in Syria told VOA.

The evacuation of thousands of rebels and civilians from Syria's Eastern Ghouta, the last opposition bastion near Damascus, follows a string of similar operations in the seven-year war.

Out of the almost 400,000 people besieged in eastern Ghouta for years by Syrian government forces, 130,000 had fled in the last three weeks, Egeland said, adding that evacuations should be voluntary.

The evacuation of the rebels and their families from Douma comes a day after a deal was reached between the Islam Army militants and the Syrian army under the mediation of Russian Federation.

This deal was reached after marathon negotiations as the Islam Army would be the last rebel group to leave Eastern Ghouta after 43,000 rebels and their families left other areas in Eastern Ghouta since last week.

"Our position is consistent and clear", he said. On Tuesday an opposition source said talks were continuing with Damascus, even as state media reported the departure of another group of fighters from eastern Ghouta.

The Syrian government dispatched more than 50 buses to Douma to take the rebels out, SANA reported.

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.

They included 80,000 people now in collective centres in government-controlled areas, where conditions were awful, while 50,000 fled to opposition-held Idlib - which he called "the biggest cluster of displacement camps in the world" with around 1.5 million people.

Latest News