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Bomb near mosque in Syrian capital kills 1, wounds 6

Bomb near mosque in Syrian capital kills 1, wounds 6

Violence broke out in and around a rebel-held town near the capital Damascus on Friday killing at least two people after almost two weeks of calm signaling an apparent collapse of a truce and an evacuation deal for opposition fighters to leave the area, state media and opposition activists said.

In recent weeks, government forces have retaken most of Eastern Ghouta through a combination of ground assaults and Russia-brokered evacuation deals.

Damascus and Moscow enabled civilians to leave Eastern Ghouta, while paving the way for transfer of militants and their families to a northern militant bastion.

It said mortar shells hit several suburbs of the capital and killed at four people and wounded more than a dozen.

Defeated rebel groups in other parts of eastern Ghouta have accepted safe passage to opposition areas near the Turkish border.

Russian-backed Syrian forces targeted eastern Ghouta on Friday after a relative calm period in the besieged region.

The observatory said at least 40 civilians died, including eight children, and even more were wounded.

A deal was reached last month to evacuate Douma but activists and state media reported that the Army of Islam group demanded amendments to the deal.

"Jaish al-Islam terrorists are in a state of collapse and their media outlets are (making) chemical attack fabrications in an exposed and failed attempt to obstruct advances by the Syrian Arab army", state news agency SANA reported, citing an official source.

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But the evacuations stalled this week amid reports Jaish al-Islam remained divided over a withdrawal, and heavy bombing hit Douma on Friday afternoon for the first time in around 10 days.

In northern Syria, the Turkish military said on its Twitter account that it has established the ninth observation post in the rebel-held province of Idlib as part of the de-escalation agreement with Russian Federation and Iran.

The regime's offensive on Ghouta since February 18 has killed more than 1,600 civilians.

Assad's forces and Jaish al-Islam began negotiations ten days ago.

The Observatory said the Army of Islam is trying to negotiate a new deal with the Russians and the Syrian government that could allow some fighters to hand over their weapons and remain in the town.

Top Jaish al-Islam political figure Mohammad Alloush yesterday blamed global supporters of Syria's government for hamstringing the talks.

Speaking on Friday, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the United Nations, said the renewed outbreak of fighting in Douma "is of great concern to us".

Syrian state media is reporting that a bomb has exploded near a mosque in the capital Damascus killing one person and wounding six others.

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