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Fighters from the Jaish al-Islam group will leave Douma to north Syria, possibly to the city of Jarablus, controlled by Turkish-backed rebels, a Syrian opposition source close to talks held between the group and Russian Federation told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that some rebels had left Douma, a part of eastern Ghouta, a sprawling suburban zone lying east of the capital, Damascus.

Faylaq al Rahman did not have a significant presence in the Douma.

Under the deal, Syrian state media said Jaish al-Islam would hand over heavy and medium-sized weapons and acknowledge the restoration of the Damascus government's control of Douma. Turkey, with support from rebels, is running its own military operations against a USA -backed Kurdish party that controls territory along the frontier.

It was the first organized evacuation of fighters from Douma, which has held out against government forces through 7 years of war.

The government is waiting for the rebels to leave the besieged town of Douma, just east of Damascus, before it can say it has full control of the area, after seven years of revolt.

Russia, a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad, has told the group it accepted such an arrangement but the Syrian government remained against it, a senior opposition source familiar with the talks said.

In the spring of 2015, it held a massive military parade that included thousands of opposition fighters marching in formation and a striking display of tanks and armored vehicles at the doors of the Syrian capital.

Late on Sunday, Russian news agency Interfax quoted General Yuri Yevtushenko as saying a "preliminary deal" had been reached to evacuate Jaish al-Islam fighters.

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"But I won't go to regime-held areas to join ranks with the Syrian army", he said, adding he would prefer to go to Idlib.

They are reportedly heading by bus to northern parts of the country that are controlled by Turkey and opposition forces. A statement said the military would press on with "fighting in the area of Douma to rid it of terrorism", in reference to the rebels.

State-run Syrian television broadcast footage that showed several buses leaving the town of Douma. Trump reportedly ordered the funding to be frozen after reading a report about it in The Washington Post, U.S. officials told Reuters. The US military has not said if the IED was in a building, a vehicle or buried in the road.

Jaish al Islam has not commented on the reports.

Officials told AFP that Trump's aside in his speech was not a slip, but that for several weeks he had been pushing back against the idea of a long or medium term USA commitment to stabilizing eastern Syria.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The UN said last week that 80,000 civilians living in other towns had fled on foot to government-held territory, as troops made dramatic advances in recent weeks and split the region into three pockets - the largest of which was around Douma.

According to Mustafa Hajj Youssef, director of the White Helmets civil defence agency in Idlib, the air raids targeted the villages of Bsenkul, Ariha, and Dana. That same year, the US formed a multinational coalition to begin bombing the militants and swapped support for the largely Arab Sunni Muslim Syrian opposition for Syrian Kurdish groups such as the People's Protection Units (YPG).


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