The Latest: Syrian state TV says troops closing in on Douma

April 6, 2018

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Syrian state TV is reporting that government forces are advancing in farms outside the rebel-held town of Douma near the capital Damascus, getting close to the last rebel-held area in eastern Ghouta.

The channel said troops carried out a ground offensive under the cover of airstrikes moving deep into the so-called Douma Farms after a 10-day truce collapsed Friday afternoon.

Opposition activists said 25 people were killed in airstrikes that targeted Douma while state TV said two people were killed in the capital Damascus when rebels fired mortar shells into the city.

Douma-based activist Haitham Bakkar said clashes between Syrian troops and the Army of Islam rebel group are taking place on two main fronts in the town.


7:05 p.m.

Syrian opposition activists say government airstrikes on the rebel-held town of Douma near the capital Damascus have killed at least 25 people.

Violence resumed in and around Douma Friday afternoon after the main rebel group in the town placed new conditions on an evacuation deal that saw hundreds of fighters and civilians leave earlier this week.

Rami Abdurrahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 42 airstrikes on Friday afternoon killed 25 people, including five children.

Douma-based media activist Haitham Bakkar also said that 25 people were killed in the airstrikes and shelling that hit the town.

Syrian state TV said rebels fired mortar shells into Damascus killing two people and wounding others.


4:50 p.m.

Syrian opposition activists and state media are reporting airstrikes and shelling in and around the rebel-held town of Douma after days of calm, signaling a possible collapse of a truce and evacuation deal.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Douma-based activist Haitham Bakkar say Syrian warplanes carried out at least six airstrikes on the town Friday afternoon.

Syrian state TV said members of the Army of Islam rebel groups fired mortar shells on government-held areas near Douma inflicting casualties and leading to army retaliation.

Douma is the last town held by rebels in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus. Other rebel groups agreed to relocate to the north after a Russia-backed government offensive in February and March that killed hundreds of people and caused devastating destruction.


1:25 p.m.

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

State news agency SANA said Friday’s blast occurred in the northeastern neighborhood of Barzeh close to al-Khansaa mosque.

Such explosions have been rare in Damascus recently.

Barzeh is close to the eastern Damascus suburb of Harasta that opposition fighters evacuated last month following weeks of a crushing government offensive on eastern Ghouta.

Evacuations from the rebel-held town of Douma near Damascus were suspended for the second day Friday, days after hundreds of opposition fighters and their relatives left for areas of the country’s north as part of a surrender deal following the eastern Ghouta offensive.

Update hourly