Rebels free five prisoners in Syria's eastern Ghouta

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Syrian President Bashar al Assad visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province Syria

"We hope that that agreement will lead to people being able to stay if they choose to, to get amnesty for those who put away their arms but also to an opportunity to leave for those who choose to leave Douma", he told a news briefing.

This discovery came after the Syrian army sieged the area due to a Russia-orchestrated evacuation deal that bused thousands of Syrian rebels and their families out of the area.

The Saudi-backed group, which has deep roots in the region, has held firm in recent weeks as virtually all the other insurgents of eastern Ghouta have reached deals to relocate to the rebel-held north, leaving Douma as the only remaining rebel holdout.

Government forces along with its Russian ally launched a relentless ground and aerial offensive in February 18 to retake the Damascus suburb it had lost in mid-2013. It was here that rebels transported weaponry and ammunition across eastern Ghouta.

"The operation could continue today or not". He did not wish to be named in this report for political reasons.

State media has said Jaish al-Islam had accepted a deal giving its fighters safe passage to towns at the border with Turkey that are located in a buffer zone controlled by the Turkish military and allied Syrian rebel groups.

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In a statement on Wednesday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said these attacks have claimed the lives of at least 1,421 people. Photo by Louai Beshara/Getty Images.

Of that number, around 80,000 have gone to shelters in Government-held areas of Rural Damascus and one-third have left voluntarily an important indicator of freedom of movement, the humanitarian official added.

A military source told Reuters on Monday that some elements of Jaish al-Islam were still rejecting a deal and that military force would be used if they refused to accept one.

While Jaish al-Islam and Failaq a-Rahman previously fought together against pro-government forces, the two factions share a long history of violent infighting for control of East Ghouta.

Douma is a stronghold of the powerful Army of Islam rebel group.

The departure of civilian authorities followed a Saturday morning meeting between several major civil society organizations and Jaish al-Islam leadership in Douma, in which the former requested that civilians be given the option to evacuate, pro-opposition news outlet al-Modon reported at the time.

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