The Syrian army paused its bombardment of Douma, the last rebel bastion in eastern Ghouta, after midnight, a war monitor said on Saturday, as insurgents prepared to leave the rest of their former enclave.
Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of pretending to fight Islamic State and of deliberately reducing its air strikes in Iraq to allow the group’s militants to stream into Syria to slow the Russian-backed advance of the Syrian army.
Syrian jets and artillery struck rebel-held eastern Damascus suburbs on Saturday a day after a Russian sponsored ceasefire with a rebel group agreed a halt of fighting in the last opposition enclave in the capital, rebels and witnesses said.
The Syrian opposition will not attend peace talks due to start on Tuesday in the Kazakh capital Astana, blaming Russia's unwillingness to end air strikes against civilians in rebel-held areas and its failure to put pressure on the Syrian army to abide by a widely violated ceasefire.
The Syrian army said on Thursday it had recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State for the second time in a year, with help from allied forces and Russian warplanes.
Syrian rebels on Wednesday vowed to fight on in east Aleppo in the face of sudden government advances that have cut the area held by the opposition by a third in recent days and brought insurgents in the city to the brink of a catastrophic defeat.
The Syrian army said it had taken control of an important district in rebel-held eastern Aleppo on November 26 after fierce fighting, with rebels blaming intense air strikes and lack of hospitals for their collapsing frontline.
Syria's army and Russia's air force halted their bombardment of rebel-held eastern Aleppo on October 21, a monitoring group said, on the second of four consecutive daytime unilateral ceasefires in the city that have been rejected by insurgents.
Syrian army command said on Friday that Israel fired rockets at a major military airport west of Damascus, the capital, and warned Tel Aviv of repercussions of what it called a "flagrant" attack.