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Negotiations between Islam Army, Syrian gov't soon to start
Negotiations between the Islam Army militants and the Syrian government will soon start on Sunday about the situation in Douma district east of Damascus, state TV reported.
The state TV said the Islam Army rebels, who are in control of Douma, the last rebel-held area in Eastern Ghouta countryside of the capital Damascus, have asked for negotiating with the Syrian government.
The government will start the negotiations within two hours, it added.
The fresh negotiations come after two days of an intense military showdown in Douma, since the Islam Army rebels backed down on a previous agreement for their evacuation from the district and refused to release thousands of kidnapped people.
The militants also launched mortar attacks on several residential areas inside Damascus.
According to pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV, the Civil Committee of the Douma district, which represents the Islam Army rebels, said negotiations with the Russians have resumed after two days of flaring battles between the Syrian army and the militants.
Meanwhile, the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Douma witnessed a two-hour calm on Sunday morning during the negotiations between the Russians and the Islam Army.
However, the London-based watchdog said the shelling continued in the area.
A day earlier, the Syrian army stormed the frontlines of the Islam Army in Douma from farmlands east of the area, according to state news agency SANA.
Douma was supposed to witness a similar destiny as other areas in Eastern Ghouta, where 43,000 rebels and their families have withdrawn under a deal with the government toward rebel-held areas in northern Syria.
Three batches of the Islam Army evacuated Douma recently, but as the fourth was preparing to leave, the Russia-brokered agreement collapsed.
The Islam Army mainly demanded to remain in Douma with its weapons, while the Russians said the rebel group must hand over heavy weapons despite allowing the formation of a police force in the district supervised by the Russians.
The ground and air offensive of the Syrian army on Douma was coupled with mortar attacks by the militants on residential neighborhoods in Damascus, which killed five people and wounded 30 others on Saturday.
[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 08Apr18]
War in Syria
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