A Syrian girl looks on as she arrives in Qalaat al-Madiq, some 45 kilometres northwest of the central city of Hama, on April 2, 2018 after being evacuated from the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma. / AFP / OMAR HAJ KADOUR
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The last Syrian rebel group in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus began withdrawing Monday under an agreement with the government, state media said, though a military source said a group of insurgents were still rejecting the deal.Jaish al-Islam, which has been defending the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma against a ferocious onslaught by Russian-backed Syrian government forces, has not confirmed the agreement.If confirmed, the departure of Jaish al-Islam from Douma would mark the end of the war for Eastern Ghouta, wiping out an opposition stronghold near Damascus and underlining President Bashar Assad's unassailable position in the war.Syrian state TV said eight buses carrying 448 people – fighters and their families – had left Douma Monday, en route for the north.The towns are located in a section of the Turkish-Syrian frontier where Turkey has carved out a buffer zone controlled on the ground by its military and allied fighters from Free Syrian Army rebel groups that are hostile to Assad.
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