Almost 6800 militants, families leave E. Ghouta, head to Idlib - Russian military

The largest convoy yet of eastern Ghouta evacuees arrived in northwestern Syria Tuesday and the regime threatened to resume its blitz if the last holdout opposition fighters don't follow suit.

Its departure would be a key victory for President Bashar Assad's forces as they push for control of the region.

The evacuation - the biggest yet out of the devastated enclave outside capital Damascus - is part of a deal reached last week between the Faylaq al-Rahman rebel faction and Russian Federation, which backs the Syrian government.

For now, Tiger Forces remain on their points and areas of operation in Eastern Ghouta awaiting orders to move towards Yarmouk Camp in the case that an agreement is reached for Douma entailing the evacuation of its militants.

Jaish al-Islam, the powerful Islamist faction that holds Douma, had hoped that talks with Moscow would result in their staying in the town, instead of being bused out like other rebels.

Some hard-liners are even against holding talks with Russians, it said.

It is a tactic Assad and his Russian sponsors used successfully in Aleppo and elsewhere since Russia intervened in the seven-year civil war in 2015.

The Russia-backed Syrian campaign succeeded in splintering the territory held by fractured rebel groups into three shrinking pockets, each held by different rebel factions.


More buses were ready Monday to take around 1,100 people, including fighters and several hundred children, out of the same area, according to state media.

SANA news agency reported that 28 citizens abducted by Takfiri terrorists stationed in Eastern Ghouta were liberated late Monday by the Syrian Army in Erbin humanitarian corridor which was established to evacuate civilians stuck in the area.

The deal with Faylaq al-Rahman on Friday has so far seen 6,400 people leave the pocket it controls, putting Assad within reach of securing the second-last part of the former rebel stronghold.

Jaish al-Islam would lay down its heavy weapons in exchange for government-provided water and electricity returning to the town. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the mass evacuation.

Al Watan quoted Syrian legislator Mohammed Kheir Seiryoul, who is originally from Douma, as saying that the understanding could lead to an agreement to dissolve Jaish al Islam.

"But I could never live alongside regime forces".

"After Russian warplanes destroyed my city, we had nothing left here, our house was destroyed, and my father was killed by the bombing of warplanes Now we will lose my country, we will migrate like the rest of Syria".

"We used to eat every three days".


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