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Syrian army announces eastern Ghouta free of militants - state media

Syrian army announces eastern Ghouta free of militants - state media

The Syrian army announced Saturday that it has fully recovered the rebel enclave in eastern Ghouta near Damascus after the evacuation of the last insurgents in the city of Duma, after a devastating offensive of almost two months.

The poison gas attack, blamed on the Syrian regime-who Russian Federation backs in the ongoing civil war in the country-sparked an aggressive response from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France who are all opposed to President Bashar al-Assad and Moscow's support for him.

"All terrorists have left Douma, the final of their holdouts in Jap Ghouta", state information company SANA quoted a military spokesman as saying Saturday, utilizing the regime's standard time period for rebels.

The humanitarian operation in the Syrian region of Eastern Ghouta has not stopped despite recent missile strikes of Western states against targets in the area near Damascus, the head of Russia's center for Syrian reconciliation said on Saturday.

At the start of the year, Eastern Ghouta was a sprawling semi-rural area just east of Damascus, home to nearly 400,000 inhabitants, which had already endured several years under a government siege that slashed access to food, medicine and other goods.

The Syrian authorities and allied forces launched an enormous assault on February 18 to retake the enclave, which had been out of regime management since 2012.

Heavy fighting and devastating bombings have killed more than 1,700 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), an NGO that has an extensive network of sources in war-torn Syria.

Syrian Army soldiers stand next to buses that carry rebels and their families who left Douma, at the entrance of the Wafideen camp in Damascus, Syria April 12, 2018.

America, France and Britain responded Saturday with pre-dawn strikes on alleged regime chemical weapons websites.




The allies have since signalled their resolve to return to diplomacy, launching a new bid at the United Nations to investigate chemical weapons attacks in the country.

Assad had made the reconquest of Eastern Ghouta a strategic goal. The Syrian government has accused Washington of seeking to use it as a pretext for attacking.

The group has slammed the Western strikes as insufficient, as Assad maintains his grip on the war-ravaged country.

The report showed people waving Syrian flags, alongside those of Iran and Russia- the main allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad during years of the country's conflict - in the face of what many called "limited" or even "failed" strikes created to punish Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons.

The two-month assault on Eastern Ghouta sparked an global outcry, with the head of the United Nations describing the conditions endured by civilians there as "hell on Earth".

With this progress, the Syrian army has fully controlled Eastern Ghouta, which was the last major threat to Damascus.

"All the terrorists have left Douma city, their last bastion in eastern Ghouta", the statement said.

The Syrian military stated a clear up operation was below manner within the battered enclave.


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