Fighters begin leaving last rebel pocket of Syria's Ghouta

Sergeant Matt Tonroe

The Observatory said evacuations were underway under that deal with civilians - including of the sick or wounded, or family members of the Faylaq al-Rahman rebel group - to head towards Idlib.

Over the course of Sunday, ISIS has carried out multiple attacks against pro-government forces in the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal, along the border with Iraq.

The most powerful Syrian rebel faction on the fringes of Damascus began abandoning its stronghold in the once rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta on Monday. By midday, only a handful had left for the north in three buses. The channel said troops entered the towns and raised the national flag in Arbeen's main square. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman.

The dominant rebel group in Douma is Jaish al-Islam, which is still negotiating a deal with Russian Federation over surrender terms giving its fighters the option of leaving the enclave or making peace with the Syrian authorities.

"Arbeen, Zamalka, Jobar and Ein Tarma in eastern Ghouta are free of terrorists", shouted a correspondent for state-affiliated al-Ikhbariya TV channel from Arbeen.

"Coalition forces, in an advise, assist and accompany capacity with our partners, were conducting a mission to kill or capture a known (I.S.) member when they were struck by an improvised explosive device", the coalition said in a statement to the AP.

At least 1,644 civilians, including 344 children, have been killed in the offensive that began on February 18 and reduced some neighborhoods to rubble, according to SOHR, which monitors the seven-year Syrian war through activists on the ground.

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Two members of the US -led coalition fighting the so-called Islamic State were killed and five others were wounded by an improvised explosive device in northern Syria late on Thursday.

The fall of Eastern Ghouta caps weeks of airstrikes and bombardment by the Syrian government and its Russian allies against an area that had been the source of near-daily - and sometimes deadly - shelling on Damascus. Its power largely derived from Saudi aid and its control of an extensive smuggling network in eastern Ghouta.

A final deal has been reached for fighters and civilians to leave the last opposition-held pocket of Eastern Ghouta, a monitor said yesterday, paving the way for Syria's regime to retake the one-time rebel enclave near Damascus.

Army of Islam officials did not respond to requests for comment by The Associated Press.

Late on Sunday, Russian news agency Interfax quoted General Yuri Yevtushenko as saying a "preliminary deal" had been reached to evacuate Jaish al-Islam fighters.

The Observatory also reported that Syrian troops have been massing troops around Douma in case negotiations collapse.

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