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Syria: 14 people killed in clashes b/w govt forces & rebels

Syria: 14 people killed in clashes b/w govt forces & rebels

Backed by Russia, Syrian troops have captured almost all of the one-time opposition stronghold of Ghouta with a combination of ferocious bombing raids and negotiated withdrawals.

The nature of the ongoing discussions over Douma is unclear and Jaish al-Islam itself has not stated its position since this week's first evacuation.

The government forces have seized at least 50 farms in the vicinity of Douma in the fight against the rebel Jaish al-Islam rebel faction, which controls the town, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The new wave of violence left at least 36 people dead, including women and children, according to state media and opposition activists.

"The bombing has not stopped. We can't even count all the wounded" Firas told AFP.

The Syrian government launched a fierce air and ground assault on the last rebel-held town in eastern Ghouta on Friday, killing at least 32 people in a bid to seal President Bashar al-Assad's biggest victory since 2016, a war monitor said.

"All of a sudden, with no warning, the shelling starts".

Roughly 100,000 people live in Duma, a regime-besieged neighborhood of Eastern Ghouta that is approximately seven square kilometers in size.

The Syrian army launched a massive operation in February on the rebels in Eastern Ghouta and secured the evacuation of 150,000 civilians who were hosted in government-run shelters until the situation settles in their areas in Eastern Ghouta for their return.

Violence resumed in and around Douma on Friday afternoon after the Army of Islam placed new conditions on an evacuation deal that saw hundreds of fighters and civilians leave earlier in the week. It added that fighters who hand over their weapons can join a local police force that will be established in Douma mostly consisting of Army of Islam members who will be given Russians weapons to fight members of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked fighters.

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According to the Houston authorities, the incident occurred on Sunday, at around 2:30 a.m.in the parking lot of a gas station. The victim, 26-year-old Devyn Holmes was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and remains on life support.

But as talks dragged on, Syria and its Russian ally threatened Jaish Al Islam with a renewed military assault if they did not agree to withdraw.

Top Army of Islam official Mohammed Alloush denied in an interview with the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV that there are disagreements within the group, saying that what they are concerned about is the safety of civilians in Douma.

Others have blamed internal rebel divisions over the withdrawal process.

Civil defense teams are struggling to reach to victims under the debris of destroyed buildings, the sources said.

The offensive to reclaim Douma, the last pocket of resistance in the suburbs surrounding Damascus, also followed talks between Turkey, Russia and Iran, on Syria.

On Saturday, fresh artillery fire hit those fields, said the Observatory.

"The regime is trying to tighten the noose around Douma from the west, east, and south", said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

Nawar Oliver, an analyst at the Omran Institute, told AFP Jaish Al Islam was facing "massive" military pressure.

Those still trapped in Douma had been nervous that any attempt to renege on plans to leave would prompt Russian Federation and regime warplanes to resume deadly strikes.


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