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Syrian Government Troops Take ‘Full Control’ of Ghouta Region

The Syrian government has taken full control of the last pocket of resistance in the Eastern Ghouta region as the final rebels left the town of Douma, where a suspected chemical attack was carried out by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Eastern Ghouta had been the biggest rebel stronghold left near the capital city of Damascus, but sustained attacks, culminating in the apparent chemical attack that raised the likelihood of U.S. airstrikes on the country, have handed it back to the Syrian government. The Jaish al-Islam group in Douma agreed Sunday to withdraw, hours after the suspected chemical-weapons attack on the town. “The raised state flag over a building in the town of Douma has heralded the control over this location and therefore over the whole of Eastern Ghouta,” Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko, head of the Russian Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Syria, was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. The U.S. and U.K. will edge toward strikes on Thursday with both a White House National Security Team and a British cabinet meeting scheduled.