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Syrian army declares capturing last rebel bastion in Eastern Ghouta

16 April 2018

The one-page draft resolution, read by Russia's Permanent Envoy at the UN Vasily Nevenzya, condemned the military action against Syria and called on the three Western countries to "halt the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic immediately and without any delay" and refrain from further use-of-force actions in violation of the UN Charter. Gen. Ali Mayhoub said Saturday that special units are clearing streets and squares of Douma from mines and explosives planted by rebels.

"Following a number of concentrated and powerful military operations in the past week, units from our courageous armed forces and its allies managed to cleanse Eastern Ghouta in all its neighborhoods and (surrounding) villages, from the armed terrorist organizations after driving out all terrorists from the city of Douma, the final base for terrorists in Eastern Ghouta", said a statement released by the military late on Saturday.

The army said that troops discovered weapons factories, arms depots, tunnels and food storage places.

Hundreds of civilians who fled the offensive have already returned to areas beforehand retaken by the military and allied forces.

Syrian state TV carried live images of hourslong street celebrations with people dancing and chanting in support of their government's "steadfastness" following unprecedented joint airstrikes by the United States, France and Britain on Syria.

A team of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is in Damascus and expected to investigate the site of the suspected chemical attack.

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But the Syrian government also claims damage from the attack was limited, as its air defense shot down incoming missiles.

Douma is the main town in what at the start of the year was a sprawling semi-rural area just east of Damascus, home to nearly 400,000 inhabitants.

The rebels who evacuated Douma were the ones rejecting to reconcile with the government, while others accepted to engage in a police force supervised by Russian Federation inside that district.

The capture of Douma comes as the rebels of the Islam Army have fully evacuated to the rebel-held city of Jarablus in northern Syria in batches.

Hundreds of Syrians demonstrated in a landmark square of the Syrian capital, waving victory signs and honking their vehicle horns in a show of defiance.

The announcement, which represents a key strategic victory for President Bashar al-Assad, came just hours after US-led strikes pounded Syrian government targets in response to a suspected chemical attack on the enclave's main town of Douma. The Syrian regime, and its Russian ally, have denied any involvement, denouncing "fabrications" and "staged" rebels. Some clapped their hands and danced, others drove in convoys, honking their horns.

Syrian army declares capturing last rebel bastion in Eastern Ghouta