More Syrian rebels exit stronghold near Damascus

Ghouta Falls in Syrian Regime's Clutches

In the past 24 hours, an additional 1,100 Jaish al-Islam fighters and their families have left the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, Russia's defence ministry also said.

Jaish al-Islam has not yet confirmed the accord, amid reports that hardliners within the group were refusing to leave their positions.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the news, saying that a deal brokered by regime ally Russian Federation would see fighters with the Jaish al-Islam faction leave Ghouta's main town of Douma for opposition-held territory in northern Syria.

Also on Sunday, Hezbollah media said that an agreement had been reached with the rebel group to evacuate fighters to Jarablus, a town in northern Syria near the border with Turkey.

The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdurrahman, said the Army of Islam is divided over whether to evacuate Douma, with hard-liners demanding they stay and fight. Turkey, with support from rebels, is running its own military operations against a US -backed Kurdish party that controls territory along the frontier.

Syrian state TV said eight buses carrying 448 people - fighters and their families - had left Douma so far on Monday, en route for the north.

The five had been abducted by the Army of Islam rebel group in Ghouta in 2013 along with many other civilians, it said.

The Army of Islam did not agree to leave the town, said Iyad Abdelaziz, a member of Douma's current local council.

Dozens if not hundreds of residents are believed to require care for war wounds and medical conditions exacerbated by the siege of the town.

The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran say they stand against "separatist" agendas that would undermine Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

A man walks on the rubble of damaged buildings in the besieged town of Douma, eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria, March 5, 2018.

The group, which is estimated to have many thousands of fighters, has previously insisted it will not leave Douma or accept "forced displacement" to another part of Syria.

A batch of Faylaq al-Rahman militants began withdrawal from the militant-held city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the center of Damascus, on Sunday, according to a report carried by SANA news agency.

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