Syrian rebel fighters lay down weapons and leave another town

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Government forces have made sweeping gains in Damascus in recent months, with Syrian Army troops liberating the entire East Ghouta regain via operation Damascus Steel. But Assad and ally Vladimir Putin deny the accusations.

After the army's recovery of Eastern Ghouta this month in a ferocious battle that began in February, the surrender Dumayr and Qalamoun would leave only the pocket in south Damascus outside government control in the area around the capital.

Syria and its ally Russian Federation deny using chemical weapons in the assault on Douma.

"We hope the Russians keep their promises, even though we have no trust in them", he said.

The daily further said, Syrian forces have for days been launching air strikes on the area controlled by Daesh (IS) in the south of Damascus, primarily around the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp and its surrounding areas. Rebels in the adjoining Beit Sahm area had agreed to withdraw on buses, he said.

Global inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) who arrived in Damascus almost a week ago were still waiting early on Friday to visit the site of the suspected poison gas attack.

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The army has put military pressure on rebels in Eastern Qalamoun to start negotiations to withdraw, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitoring group said.

"If they refuse, the army and supporting forces are ready to launch a military operation to end the presence of the organisation in the area", al-Watan said. Most of Yarmouk residents have already fled the area, but the United Nations says several thousand still remain in the camp.

Damascus and its allies are actively pushing for reconciliation or transfer deals in other militant-held parts of Syria, as such arrangements greatly reduce the number of civilian causalities and limit casualties inflicted to the Syrian Army's ranks.

Syrian state media reported that missiles had again targeted an airbase overnight, but the commander in the regional military alliance backing the government, speaking on condition of anonymity, later told Reuters it was a false alarm.

Islamic State lost most of its territory past year, but it still holds small areas of desert in eastern Syria on either side of the Euphrates.

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