Syrian government and rebels reach agreement to evacuate Duma

Syrian government and rebels reach agreement to evacuate Duma

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The last stronghold of the insurgents outside Damascus came under full control of the government forces of Bashar al-Assad.

Through the state news agency Sana, the Syrian Government announced this Sunday (08.04.2018) that it reached an agreement with the Islamist group Army of Islam to pacify Duma, the last rebel stronghold in Guta Oriental, a region neighboring Damascus that from now on it is under the total control of the troops of the Syrian Army. The pact was reached just two days after the start of an intense military offensive by the Government.

The agreement implies the complete evacuation of the “kidnapped” of Duma, in allusion to civilians, in exchange for the safe exit of the “terrorists”, as Sana calls them, from the Army of Islam towards Jarabulus, in the north of the province of Aleppo, on the border with Turkey. That region remains under the control of the rebels. A little later, Sana assured that dozens of buses entered Duma in order to evacuate the civilians.

Quoting a journalist in the field, he showed in pictures the arrival of transport vehicles. The EFE news agency contacted the Army of Islam to confirm the information, but this was not possible because the rebels did not comment. The agreement, which in practice is a surrender of the insurgents, must be applied within 48 hours, Sana said.

Chemical attack

The past day 1 the Army of Islam and Russia, defender of Damascus, achieved a pact for the departure of combatants and civilians who wanted to Duma. However, a current within that Islamist faction opposed the settlement and hostilities resumed last Friday with a strong Russian-Syrian offensive.

This news is known just hours after the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the “white helmets”, and the NGO Syrian American Medical Society, denounced that the forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al Assad, made a chemical attack on Saturday in Duma that killed at least 42 civilians, many of them women and children, and wounded 500 others.

Both the Syrian authorities and Russia have strongly denied the use of chemical weapons in the bombings of Duma and no other independent source has confirmed it.

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