The Syrian government has expressed its readiness to engage in negotiations with the Jaish al-Islam Takfiri group that is still holding Douma, the last terrorist bastion in Eastern Ghouta.
“Jaish al-Islam terrorists have requested negotiations with the Syrian state, which will start the talks within two hours from now,” state TV cited an official source as saying on Sunday.
Syria’s SANA news agency also reported that the terrorists’ appeal came after “the painful blows they received due to the decisive military operation on their positions and hotbeds in Douma.”
The Syrian army, backed by the Russian air force, has almost entirely liberated Eastern Ghouta, which used to serve as a major militant stronghold and a launch pad for deadly raids on the residents of Damascus.
Douma is the only part of Eastern Ghouta that is still being held by the militants.
Russia denies claims on Syria chemicals
Separately on Sunday, Russia dismissed recent claims of an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government forces in Douma.
“We decidedly refute this information,” said Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko, head of the Russian peace and reconciliation center in Syria.
“We hereby announce that we are ready to send Russian specialists in radiation, chemical and biological defense to collect information, as soon as Douma is freed from militants. This will confirm the trumped-up nature of these statements,” he added.
Late on Saturday, the Syrian government denied the chemical attack accusations, saying they were aimed at at halting pro-Damascus forces’ advances in the region and were made by the terrorists themselves.
“The chemical fabrications, which did not serve the terrorists and their sponsors in Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, will not serve them today either, as the Syrian state is determined to end terrorism in every square inch of Syrian territory,” the government said in a statement.
Rescue workers told Al Jazeera that the SaDturday’s suspected chemical attack on Douma had killed at least 70 people and affected hundreds.