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Russia expects a deal with a large rebel group in Ghouta, Syria



BEIRUT – Russia's military said on Monday it expects a deal with a large Syrian rebel group to arrange its exit from the last rebel city in eastern Ghoutas with another key victory for President Bashar Assad's troops Douma is the only city on the eastern edge of the Syrian capital that is still occupied by rebels after government troops have conquered all other opposition areas

The city, which is controlled by the controlled by the mighty army of Islam, is also home to tens of thousands of people, many of whom have been displaced during the last few weeks of heavy fighting.

Lt. General Stanislav Gadschimagomedov told Russian news agencies in Syria on Monday that the Russian military is holding talks with the army of Islam over its withdrawal from Douma.

Gadzhimagomedov, deputy head of the operational department of the Russian General Staff He said he expected Russian troops to "get them out soon" and that the rebels reportedly signaled their readiness to lay down arms.

The UK-based Syrian Human Rights Observatory, however, said there were divisions within the rebel group over the negotiations, with some hardliners rejecting any talks with Russians. The observatory said some fighters had asked to go to the southern province of Daraa, but the Russians refused.

Syria's pro-government Al-Watan daily said the army of Islam and the Russians had reached "understanding" And added that each side would examine a draft agreement within the next three days.

Al-Watan quoted the Syrian legislator Mohammed Kheir Seiryoul, originally from Douma, as saying that agreement on an agreement could lead to the dissolution of the army of Islam. During this time, his members would give up their heavy weapons and the Syrian government would take control of state institutions in the city.

A civilian committee, which represented Douma, said late Sunday after meeting with Russian officials that the negotiations "are extremely difficult and no quick results to be expected."

Talks with the Russians will be back within three days added.

Douma-based opposition activist Haitham Bakkar said the city underwent artillery fire on Monday wounded several people.

The Douma talks came after thousands of rebels and their families had left behind three other eastern Ghouta bags in recent weeks, after years of siege and weeks of bombing by the Syrian army and the Russian Air Force. 19659006] On Monday, a convoy of 56 buses with 3,641 people, including 850 fighters from various rebel factions, was preparing to leave Jobar, Zamalka, Ein Terma and Arbeen heading for Idlib, state-owned al-Ikhbariya TV

Das Russian Ministry of Defense reconciliation center in Syria said in a statement that more than 400 people left Douma on Monday. The total number of civilians and rebels evacuated since the Russian-sponsored "humanitarian pauses" were announced at 114,000 people,

Hamza Bayraqdar, spokesman for the Army of Islam, cursed the group's former ally, the rebel group Faylaq Rahman, accusing them of helping government forces conquer more than 80 percent of the rebel-held areas after drying artificial swamps built by insurgents to slow down the army's offensive.

"We had prepared defense plans, but unfortunately Faylaq al-Rahman cut the water from the Barada River," Bayraqdar told Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV. "This hastened the advance of the regime."

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Vasilyeva reported from Moscow

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.


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