Fighters from the Jaish al-Islam group will leave Douma to north Syria, possibly to the city of Jarablus, controlled by Turkish-backed rebels, a Syrian opposition source close to talks held between the group and Russian Federation told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday.
The most powerful Syrian rebel faction on the fringes of Damascus began abandoning its stronghold in the once rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta on Monday, opening the way for government forces to secure full control of the area, after seven years of revolt.
Syria's state news agency SANA said 24 buses carrying around 1,200 fighters from Failaq al Rahman and their families left Douma on Sunday in the first such pullout of fighters.
Iyad Abdelaziz says there is no agreement reached to have the Army of Islam rebel faction leave Douma for north Syria and hand over the town to government forces.
The deal over Douma would mark the end of a weeks-long push by Assad's forces to consolidate their control over eastern Ghouta, just outside the capital.
Jaish al-Islam, which has been defending Douma against an offensive by Russian-backed Syrian government forces, has not confirmed the agreement with the government. Talks with Jaish al-Islam for the evacuation of Douma had dragged on for several days, with residents growing nervous.
State media say 41,000 people have also been evacuated to Idlib under deals between Ahrar al-Sham and Faylaq al-Rahman.
The agreement, brokered under the stewardship of Russian Federation, a staunch Assad ally, called for the fighters to abandon their heavy weapons and depart to the city of Jarablus on Syria's northern border that is controlled by Turkish-backed rebels.
Later on the same day, the head of Jaish al-Islam's political office, Yaser Dilwan, said that negotiations were ongoing and seemed optimistic, but did not offer any details other than to say that different options were suggested.
It said Russia, Iran, and Turkey - which have negotiated local settlements in different parts of Syria - would oversee the handover of prisoners held by the Army of Islam to the government.
The Syrian army statement said the fall of Eastern Ghouta will restore security in Damascus and to roads connecting it to central, northern and eastern Syria.
But journalists on the ground said both the regime and the opposition fighters had restricted access to the evacuation operation from Douma.
Douma was one of the Syrian cities that gave birth to the anti-Assad protests in 2011.
"The fear is of the unknown and not bombardment or hunger. what the coming days will bring we can not predict", said the resident, Bilal Bwaidani.
Numerous predominantly Sunni Muslim inhabitants of eastern Ghouta say they fear their displacement was part of a deliberate attempt to bring demographic changes in strategic areas that dilutes their presence in favor of Assad's Alawite sect and other minorities.