A driver stands next to a bus as he waits to cross into the town of Douma, eastern Ghouta, to evacuate rebels and their families, in Syria, April 1 2018. Picture: REUTERS
A driver stands next to a bus as he waits to cross into the town of Douma, eastern Ghouta, to evacuate rebels and their families, in Syria, April 1 2018. Picture: REUTERS

Wafideen Checkpoint, Syria — Buses entered the last rebel holdout of Syria’s Eastern Ghouta on Tuesday ahead of a possible second day of evacuations as the regime eyed the total reconquest of the enclave.

Evacuations of Jaish al-Islam fighters and their families from the former bastion’s main town of Douma started on Monday under a Russia-brokered deal.

Jaish al-Islam has not yet confirmed the accord, amid reports that hardliners within the group were refusing to leave their positions. Russian-backed regime forces have retaken control of 95% of Eastern Ghouta since February 18 through a combination of a deadly air and ground assault and evacuation deals.

Buses entered the enclave on Tuesday to prepare for a second day of evacuations, a military source and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

However, there were no reports of any having exited at the start of the afternoon.

"The operation could continue today or not. There are divisions among the Jaish al-Islam group on their leaving but we are continuing preparations," the military source said.

AFP

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