Syrian military takes full control over Eastern Ghouta

Syrian military takes full control over Eastern Ghouta

According to Russian official news agency TASS, Yuri Yevtushenko, the chief of the Russian centre for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria said on Thursday that Bashar al-Assad forces have succeeded in taking full control over Eastern Ghouta after Jaish al-Islam armed group was bussed out of Douma.

Russian military police were deployed in Douma on Thursday in accordance with the rebel surrender deal, Russia's RIA news agency reported.

Jaish al-Islam had long insisted that it would refuse to agree to an evacuation deal for Douma. He added that efforts should be focused on ending the suffering of the Syrian people, lamenting that the Security Council had not yet reached an agreement on the chemical weapons issue.

Meanwhile, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which is sympathetic to anti-Damascus militants, said the remaining militants in battered Eastern Ghouta had surrendered their heavy weapons and their leaders had left the enclave for the north.

The Russian Defence Ministry statement followed a chaotic day in Douma where gunfire broke out.

The agreement was announced on Sunday morning by the Assad regime and its ally Russian Federation, just hours after toxic gases were allegedly released on Douma. The militants were sent to the areas under anti-government forces control.

Amid earlier disagreements, a truce collapsed last week and the Syrian regime pressed ahead with its offensive.

The suspected chemical attack was reported just as the Syrian army was about to liberate Douma.

The official said Damascus and its allies are in consultation over U.S. threats of military action and have options.

If the U.S. action follows the pattern of a previous punitive strike on Syria past year, it will begin with a salvo of cruise missiles fired from American warships in the Mediterranean.

World powers have threatened a strong response, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying Thursday he had "proof" the Assad regime was behind the attack.

Moscow and Damascus have called on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the attack and find the real perpetrators.

This was considered to be in response to Russian ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin's statement who said in an interview on Tuesday with Hezbolah owned al-Manar TV that "If there is a U.S. missile attack, we- in line with both Putin and Russia's chief of staff remarks will shoot down USA rockets and even the source that launched the missiles".

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