Syrian activists say airstrikes on Douma kill 25

Airstrikes return to Syria's Ghouta killing 40 civilians as talks sputter

Syria: 40 reported dead in regime airstrikes on besieged eastern Ghouta

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said eight raids hit across the town of Douma, but the monitor did not have immediate information on casualties.

Strikes began again on the besieged opposition enclave on Friday with at least 40 civilians killed in a day of shelling and air strikes on Douma.

Douma is the last rebel-held area in Eastern Ghouta, after other towns in the sprawling countryside have seen the evacuation of 43,000 rebels and their families toward Idlib Province in northwestern Syria.

Syrian forces have liberated around 95 percent of Eastern Ghouta, which was once a launch pad for deadly attacks against civilians in the capital.

In an apparent bid to pressure Jaish al-Islam - the Islamist group that holds the town - to withdraw, Syrias government yesterday resumed bombardment of the town after a more than week-long lull.

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As talks over the third and final pocket of Douma dragged on, Russian Federation and Syria's regime threatened Jaish al-Islam with a renewed military assault if they did not agree to withdraw.

Five civilians were killed and 30 others wounded Saturday by the rebels' mortar shells amid intensifying military showdown in Damascus' Douma district, Xinhua reported citing the state news agency SANA.

On April 6, government forces and allies targeted Douma with heavy air strikes and ground attacks, after 10 days of calm in the town. The Observatory says the attack has killed more than 1,600 civilians.

The White Helmets, a group of rescuers operating in opposition-held areas in Syria, said on Saturday that more than 50 air raids had struck the town, which sits just 15km east of the capital, Damascus, over the past 24 hours. The group wants to remain in Douma and none of the fighters have left, according to Mohammad Alloush, a representative for Jaish al-Islam.

Moscow announced a deal with Jaish Al Islam last Sunday, ushering in three consecutive days of evacuations from Douma that saw almost 3,000 fighters and civilians taken in buses to Idlib, northern Syria.

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Moscow stepped in to negotiate a deal for Douma, the third and final pocket where Jaish al-Islam had been angling for a reconciliation agreement that would allow them to stay as a police force.

The nature of the ongoing discussions over Douma is unclear and Jaish al-Islam itself has not stated its position since this week's first evacuation. "There were 20 strikes in 15 minutes", Mohammed, a medic, told AFP.

"Their only shared interests is the blood of civilians", he wrote on Twitter.

The wounded were being brought in with fractures and other injuries, and there had been three amputations on Friday alone, he said.

The Britain-based Observatory said warplanes were hitting across Douma today, as regime artillery fire hit neighbouring agricultural fields.

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