The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Syria says evacuation deal reached with opposition in southern Damascus Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Syria says evacuation deal reached with opposition in southern Damascus

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's war started [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 April, 2018

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Another deal has been reached, the latest in a series, between opposition fighters and regime forces, as Assad continues to retake opposition-held areas.
A new evacuation deal has been reached between the Syrian regime and opposition forces from an area of southern Damascus near the site of a regime offensive, according to state media.

The announcement comes at the tail of a regime offensive in the city including the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk.

Regime forces have pounded southern districts of the capital since April 19 to try to expel the Islamic State group (IS) from the area, after the militants refused to leave under an evacuation deal.

State news agency SANA said on Sunday that a deal had been reached to evacuate opposition fighters and their families from the opposition-held areas east of Yarmouk.

"An agreement reached between the Syrian government and terrorist groups in southern Damascus, in the areas of Yalda, Babila and Beit Sahem," reported the agency, using its term for all rebels.

The deal offers the fighters a choice between evacuating the areas with their families or handing over their weapons and staying, added SANA.

The reported deal is the latest in a series of such agreements that have seen the Assad regime retake areas near the capital.

British-based war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said such a deal around Yalda could allow the regime to deploy forces on the eastern edges of Yarmouk after other units advanced towards the camp from the west.

Over the past two days, the army has retaken large parts of the district of Qadam on Yarmouk's western flank, the monitor added.

Regime bombardment

IS has held parts of Hajar al-Aswad and Yarmouk since 2015 and seized Qadam last month.

At least 85 regime personnel and 74 IS fighters have been killed in ten days of fighting in southern Damascus, the monitor said.

The latest civilian deaths bring to 36 the number of non-fighters killed in regime bombardment in that same period, it said.

Yarmouk and the surroundings are now IS's largest urban redoubt in Syria or neighbouring Iraq.

The militants have lost much of the territory they once controlled in both countries since they declared a cross-border caliphate there in 2014.

Yarmouk was once home to around 160,000 people, but today just a few hundred people remain, the United Nations' agency for Palestinian refugees has said.

President Bashar Assad's regime set its sights on the south of the capital after reconquering a major rebel bastion east of Damascus earlier this month.

Eastern Ghouta fell after a blistering air and ground assault and Russia-backed evacuation deals that saw tens of thousands of people bussed out to northern Syria.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's war started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More