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

Noor and Alaa, aged 11 and 8, showed the world through their Twitter account the suffering of civilian victims of Syrian government airstrikes in their Eastern Ghouta neighborhood.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

On Monday, Damascus Countryside Education Directorate announced the return of more than 12,000 students to their schools in eastern Ghouta and the makeshift centers.

The rebel enclave in eastern Qalamoun includes several towns and a barren expanse of mountainous territory.

The fighters in Douma were following their Faylaq al-Rahman comrades trapped in the other two Ghouta pockets that relocated to northern Syria last week. "Idlib can not become a battle zone, it's full of civilians and they are vulnerable displaced", he said.

On Sunday, Iyad Abdelaziz, a council member from Douma, countered Syrian government claims an agreement was reached with Jaish al-Islam to leave the town, stressing that this only applied to the wounded.

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.

However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group on Tuesday said the reports were false.

The Syrian war last month entered its eighth year having killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced 11 million from their homes, including almost 6 million who have fled overseas in one of the worst refugee crises of modern times.

It marks Assad's most significant victory over the rebellion against his rule since rebels were driven from eastern Aleppo in 2016.

Jaish al-Islam has not yet confirmed the accord, amid reports that hardliners within the group were refusing to leave their positions. -Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko, chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of the Syrian warring parties, said the fighters are to hand over maps of mined areas and underground tunnels while leaving Douma, as well as clear major transport routes of barricades.

But while Russia's Defense Ministry said 2,000 had left since April 1, the opposition source familiar with the negotiations said no final deal had been reached with Jaish al-Islam.

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