Syrian forces press ahead with offensive in rebel-held Douma

Airstrikes return to Syria's Ghouta killing 40 civilians as talks sputter

Syria: 40 reported dead in regime airstrikes on besieged eastern Ghouta

Although a number of rebel strongholds remain, none are as strategically important as Eastern Ghouta, where Douma is located.More than 130,000 people have fled the once-besieged enclave in recent weeks, according to the United Nations, a lot of them to government-run reception centers in Damascus.

Some opposition activists in Douma posted photographs of people wearing gas masks saying that government forces are shelling the town with poison gas.

Syrian State media reported on Saturday that the soldiers pushed deeper into Douma from western and southern fronts during their ground offensive. State media said the rebels were responsible for the Damascus shelling.

The army, however, resumed airstrikes on militant positions in Douma on Friday after the last remaining militants there violated an evacuation deal and shelled civilian areas near Damascus on Saturday.

The Army of Islam appears to have reached a deal with Russian Federation to relocate to parts of northern Syria controlled by Turkey-allied opposition forces. Residents said Jaish al-Islam has kept a tight hold over the evacuation, requiring those who want to leave to register at local offices.

But Jaish Al Islam spokesman Hamza Bayraqdar in a statement late Friday denied that the group had targeted any Damascus neighbourhoods.

Earlier it was reported that the Syrian rebels and the Russian military agreed on a plan for the evacuation of the city Council.

The renewed raids appear to be an attempt to pressure Jaish al-Islam - the Islamist group that holds the town - to agree to the regime's terms of a withdrawal.

The Syrian army launched a massive operation in February on the rebels in Eastern Ghouta and secured the evacuation of 150,000 civilians who were hosted in government-run shelters until the situation settles in their areas in Eastern Ghouta for their return.

Army of Islam official Ammar al-Hassan told The Associated Press that he has no information on whether the truce collapsed.

"A gaggle of buses carrying loads of Jaish al-Islam terrorists and their households go away Douma in preparation of them being transported to Jarabulus", a rebel-held metropolis in northern Syria, state info firm SANA acknowledged, referring to the rebels. "We've been waiting for this for years, whether in Ghouta or in Damascus", said Abbas.

On Saturday, the monitor said air strikes on the northern edges of the town had left 11 people, including five children, "suffocating and suffering shortness of breath". Many more people had stayed, fearing what might follow departure from home towns they had not abandoned through seven years of war.On Friday, the buses stopped.Speaking before the airstrikes, the medical worker said he had chose to stay because his work was not finished.

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