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Syrian Government Declares Full Victory Over Eastern Ghouta

  • Army of Islam group, Russia reach deal to evacuate fighters
  • More than 1,644 civilians killed since offensive began Feb. 18
Douma, in rebel-held eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus.

The Syrian government declared victory over Islamist-dominated fighters in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta after a relentless six-week siege, cementing President Bashar al-Assad’s rule by securing the capital and roads that link it to other parts of the country.

Some fighting continued around Douma, the largest town in Eastern Ghouta and stronghold of the Army of Islam group, according to the military’s victory statement late Saturday. The fighters and their families will be evacuated to Jarablus in Aleppo province, the official Sana news agency reported. The deal was reached between the Islamist group and Russian military forces backing Assad, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.