Syria: Evacuations from besieged, battered areas

Syria's Assad poised for another huge symbolic victory

He said "humanitarian cases" would be allowed to evacuate on Monday.

It said those on board were fighters and family members belonging to the Army of Islam, the largest rebel group in eastern Ghouta.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported earlier in the day Russia's military police would be deployed inside Douma to take custodianship of the town.

Jaish al-Islam has been in Russian-brokered negotiations with the Syrian government for several days now. "There are divisions among the Jaish al-Islam group on their leaving but we are continuing preparations", the military source said.

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.

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Hamza Berakdar, spokesperson for Jaish al-Islam, said on Saturday that the armed opposition in Douma refused to leave in what he called a forced displacement.

There was no immediate comment from the Army of Islam.

After President Bashar al-Assad's forces recaptured most of Eastern Ghouta, the forces discovered an underground network of tunnels formerly held by the rebel forces.

Syrian government forces are reportedly very close to taking full control of the opposition stronghold of Eastern Ghouta which is near the capital, Damascus.

At least 170,000 people, including civilians and rebel fighters, have also been evacuated out of the area.

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In April 2017, under a deal sponsored by regime ally Iran and rebel backer Qatar, almost 11,000 people leave four besieged areas.

Local activists say over 100,000 civilians are trapped inside Douma, which suffered devastating damage during the latest government assault.

The Syrian government says it fires in response to shelling from Eastern Ghouta, but Western countries are accusing the Syrian government and Russian Federation of being responsible for the intensification of tensions in the area.

Since Feb. 19, more than 1,400 people have been killed in attacks by the regime and its allies in Eastern Ghouta, according to local civil defense sources.

Damascus:China has donated $1 million in aid to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Syria to purchase food for the war-stricken Syrians, the Chinese Embassy in Syria has said.

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Turkey and Russian Federation will collaborate to establish a hospital in Syria's Tel Abyad to treat those escaping Eastern Ghouta, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

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