A picture taken through a window of a bus carrying Syrian civilians and rebel-fighters from the town of Douma shows a poster of President Bashar al-Assad at a checkpoint in the city of Tartus, on April 2, 2018. / AFP / Abdullah HAMMAM
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Syrian rebels in a besieged area northeast of Damascus have been told they must accept state rule or leave, a rebel group said Tuesday, as the government and its Russian ally seek to wipe out the last pockets of opposition territory near the capital.The ultimatum to the rebels of eastern Qalamoun was served to civilians from the area during a meeting with a Russian colonel and an officer from the Syrian Air Force Intelligence, rebel spokesman Said Saif of the Martyr Ahmad Abdo told Reuters.An opposition source said talks over the densely-populated town of Douma, the last rebel pocket of eastern Ghouta, had yet to be concluded, at odds with state media reports that the group holed up inside -- Jaish al-Islam -- had accepted a deal to leave.The rebel enclave in eastern Qalamoun includes several towns and a barren expanse of mountainous territory.
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