Largest Syrian rebel group starts leaving Damascus enclave

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian state media say the largest rebel group in Damascus’ eastern Ghouta, the Army of Islam, has begun to evacuate from the area’s last holdout town. The government is waiting for the rebels to leave the besieged town of Douma, just east of Damascus, before it can say it has full control of the area, after seven years of revolt. Douma is the last town to hold out against government forces in the once rebel-held suburbs.

The SANA news agency says two buses carrying the rebels left Douma on Monday morning, heading for Jarablus, a town in north Syria shared between rebels and Turkish forces.

There was no immediate comment from the Army of Islam. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group also reported the rebels’ leaving Douma.