Rebels are seen in a bus as they are evacuated from the town of Douma, eastern Ghouta, in Damascus, Syria April 1, 2018. (REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh)
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A rebel faction trapped by government forces outside the Syrian capital agreed to evacuate to northern Syria on Sunday as reports swirled of a larger agreement that would have the government retake full control of the Eastern Ghouta region after seven years of revolt.Some 1,300 fighters, activists, and civilians signed up to leave the town, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.It was the first organized evacuation of fighters from Douma, one of the earliest centers of the anti-government demonstrations that swept through the country in 2011 . Local activists say over 100,000 civilians are trapped inside Douma, which suffered devastating damage during the latest government assault.The fighters in Douma were following their Failaq al-Rahman comrades trapped in the other two Ghouta pockets that relocated to northern Syria last week. Government forces extended their control over those areas over the course of a five-week offensive that killed at least 1,600 civilians and displaced tens of thousands more, according to the Observatory, an opposition-linked group that monitors both sides of the conflict.
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