New strikes on Syria's rebel Douma kill 8 civilians

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad
Assad's Fate Should Be Decided by Syrian People- Turkish Foreign Ministry
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08 April, 2018

Fresh air strikes pounded the rebel-held Syrian town of Douma on Saturday, completing 24 hours of carnage that killed at least 48 civilians, rescuers and a monitor said.

Government forces launched a crushing offensive in February and March on eastern Ghouta capturing dozens of towns and villages forcing thousands of opposition fighters to surrender and evacuate the area toward Syria's north.

The Britain-based monitor said it could not confirm whether the strikes were carried out by Syrian government warplanes or those of its ally, Russia.

Opposition activists said 25 people were killed in airstrikes that targeted Douma while state TV said two people were killed in the capital Damascus when rebels fired mortar shells into the city.

Syrian state media say crucial rebel group in Damascus' jap Ghouta, the Navy of Islam, has begun to evacuate from the world's closing holdout metropolis.

Douma is the last town held by rebels in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus. Many more people had stayed, fearing what might follow departure from home towns they had not abandoned through seven years of war.On Friday, the buses stopped.Speaking before the airstrikes, the medical worker said he had chose to stay because his work was not finished.

Moscow announced a deal with Jaish al-Islam last Sunday, ushering in three consecutive days of evacuations from Douma that saw almost 3,000 fighters and civilians bussed to northern Syria.

Moscow stepped in to negotiate a deal for Douma, the third and final pocket where Jaish al-Islam had been angling for a reconciliation agreement that would allow them to stay as a police force.

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Regime forces were locked in violent clashes with Jaish al-Islam rebels in agricultural areas to the southwest and east of the town, the Observatory said.

Earlier it was reported that the Syrian rebels and the Russian military agreed on a plan for the evacuation of the city Council.

Douma is the last rebel-held area in Eastern Ghouta, after other towns in the sprawling countryside have seen the evacuation of 43,000 rebels and their families toward Idlib Province in northwestern Syria.

Top Jaish al-Islam political figure Mohammad Alloush yesterday blamed global supporters of Syria's government for hamstringing the talks.

According to the report, the Islam Army put forward new suggestions to the Russians, mainly about remaining in Douma with their weapons.

SANA said they faltered when Jaish al-Islam refused to release detainees they were holding in Douma, adding that the military assault would only stop if hostages are released.

Syrian state media is reporting that a bomb has exploded near a mosque in the capital Damascus killing one person and wounding six others.


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