Jaish al-Islam rebels begin leaving Douma under deal

Jaish al-Islam rebels begin leaving Douma under deal
1 min read
09 April, 2018
Jaish al-Islam rebels begin to exit Douma after a deal with Syrian regime forces was reached on Sunday.
Thousands have been forcibly displaced from East Ghouta (TNA)
Syrian rebels and civilians began leaving the last opposition-controlled town in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday, state media said, under an evacuation deal  with the government.

Syrian state news agency SANA said two buses carrying Jaish al-Islam rebels and their families had exited the town of Douma and would head north to opposition-held territory.  Other vehicles carrying freed detainees had left the town to head to government-held Damascus.

The evacuations came after accusations Syria's government had used toxic gas on Douma, which the regime denied.

An AFP correspondent at a collection centre said emotions there were running high as hundreds of Syrians gathered to welcome freed relatives, some of whom had been held by Jaish al-Islam for several years.

Russia's military said it had hammered out an agreement for a "ceasefire, the disarmament of this armed group and resumption of the operation for the withdrawal of fighters".

Moscow said all military operations around Douma had now halted and that 100 buses had arrived in the town to help start ferrying out some 8,000 fighters and 40,000 of their family members.

It said the move proved "no chemical weapons were used in this area".

Ghouta was among the areas hit in a 2013 sarin gas attack blamed on Syria's government.