4 towns in Syria's Ghouta to be cleared of rebels

General Ali Mahyoub the spokesman for the Syrian armed forces announces “full victory” against terrorist groups in Eastern Ghouta in a televised statement

After the four areas, only the district of Douma in the northern part of Eastern Ghouta remains under the Islam Army control amid ongoing negotiations mediated by the Russians for achieving similar agreement in Douma.

Douma was one of the earliest centers of the anti-government demonstrations that swept through the country in March 2011.

Hundreds of residents are believed to require care for war wounds and medical conditions exacerbated by the siege. Backed by Russia, Assad's forces have scored a series of victories over rebel forces in recent years, often through campaigns of siege, aerial bombardment and ground offensives that have drawn widespread global condemnation.

Ankara says the town is controlled by Syrian Kurdish militiamen that Turkish officials claim are "terrorists" and an extension of Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey.

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If confirmed, the departure of Jaish al-Islam from Douma would mark the end of the war for eastern Ghouta, wiping out an opposition stronghold near Damascus and underlining President Bashar al-Assad's unassailable position in the war.

Indicating divisions in Jaish al-Islam, a Syrian military source told Reuters some of the fighters were rejecting the deal and the regime army would use force unless they accepted it.

Local activists have said that over 100,000 civilians were trapped inside Douma, which suffered devastating damage.

On Saturday, the Syrian army command announced it had liberated all towns and cities in the embattled Eastern Ghouta, green belt around the capital pertaining to the province of Damascus Countryside, and was readying for the final assault to free Douma of terrorists. The security services responded by putting the town and other suburbs around Damascus under siege, bombing hospitals and residential areas, and blocking food and medical relief.

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Other areas have been surrendered to the Syrian regime in recent weeks as part of so-called evacuation deals, which sees rebel fighters, their families, and other civilians leave their homes for other opposition areas as the regime take control.

It was not immediate possible to confirm the details of the deal and there was no comment from the Army of Islam.

Nearly 200,000 people have been evacuated to government-controlled areas or to Idlib, home to mostly Islamist fighters in the northwest.

It was the first organized evacuation of fighters from Douma, which has held out against government forces through 7 years of war.

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A crushing government offensive under the cover of Russian airstrikes that began on February 18 has forced opposition fighters in most of eastern Ghouta to agree to evacuate and head to Idlib province.

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