Syrian army celebrates as rebels quit most of their Ghouta stronghold

Syrian army celebrates as rebels quit most of their Ghouta strongholdBy Lisa Barrington BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian rebels left one besieged enclave on Friday and agreed to abandon another, leaving only the city of Douma still in insurgent hands in eastern Ghouta after a month-long army assault to drive them from the stronghold near Damascus. It brings President Bashar al-Assad to the cusp of his biggest victory over the rebels since driving them from Aleppo in December 2016, though they remain entrenched in areas of northwestern and southwestern Syria. The offensive to capture the towns and villages on the outskirts of the capital, which began on Feb. 18 with a massive bombardment, has brought 90 percent of eastern Ghouta back under government control.



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