Eastern Ghouta: Syrian regime gives Jaish al-Islam rebels final ultimatum
The 72-hour deadline began on Wednesday night, according to Syrian state TV.
Jaish al-Islam, which controls Douma, the largest town in Eastern Ghouta, has been in talks for days with Russian mediators. The Syrian regime insists on the rebel group leaving the area for Idlib in northern Syria, as other rebels have done as part of several evacuation agreements.
At least 121,000 of Eastern Ghouta's 400,000 residents have left the area as per the agreements that allowed both civilians and fighters to evacuate.
Jaish al-Islam spokesman Ammar al-Hassan said on Thursday that rebels have rejected the regime's demand they leave the enclave.
Since the Syrian regime, with Russian backing, began its offensive in Eastern Ghouta, more than 90 per cent of the area has been retaken.
Most residents expect Eastern Ghouta to follow the same trajectory as Eastern Aleppo in 2016, which the regime retook after heavy bombardment paved the way for a ground offensive in the area.
At least 1,600 have died since the regime began its air and ground campaign in Eastern Ghouta on February 18.
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