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‘Deal agreed’ to get wounded out of rebel-held Douma to northern Syria

‘Deal agreed’ to get wounded out of rebel-held Douma to northern Syria
REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh
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A deal has reportedly been struck between negotiators to evacuate wounded people from Douma, the last rebel-held bastion in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region.

Local sources say the agreement follows talks involving Russia, civic leaders and the rebel faction in control of Douma, Jaish al-Islam.

The injured are to be taken to rebel-held northern Syria, sources say.

Negotiators in Douma have been trying to spare the city an assault by the Syrian army and its allies who surround it. The military ave threatened to storm the city if rebels fail to agree to surrender the last part of the enclave, in return for safe passage to the north of the country.

Tens of thousands of civilians are still living in the rebel-held town in Eastern Ghouta.

The Syrian army command said on Saturday that it had regained most towns and villages in the region and was pressing its military operations over Douma.

An army spokesman said the campaign lasting several weeks had brought security to Damascus, and secured its main links to other parts of the country and the Iraqi border to the east.

Earlier, a last group of rebel fighters left other towns after they fell to Syrian forces, leaving only Douma in rebel hands. The fall of the rebels’ last big stronghold near the capital would be a major blow and highly symbolic.