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Syrian army forces free 8 soldiers abducted by militants in Eastern Ghouta

A member of the Syrian army, who used to live in the Eastern Ghouta town of Harasta, walks with his father along a destroyed street in the former militant-held town on March 30, 2018, a week after government forces retook it fromTakfiri terrorists. (Photo by AFP)

Syrian government forces have freed eight army soldiers abducted by Takfiri terrorist groups in the Eastern Ghouta enclave on the outskirts of the capital Damascus.

Privately-owned and pro-government al-Ikhbariyah Syria television news network aired footage of the freed abductees, who reached the government-controlled crossing on the outskirts of the town of Arbin.

The development came days after militants set free 28 people as part of the deal reached between the extremists and Syrian government forces through Russia’s mediation.

More abductees are expected to be freed soon, especially in the militant-held city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the center of Damascus.

'Over 6,200 militants, family members evacuated'

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry says more than 6,200 militants and their families have left Eastern Ghouta via a humanitarian corridor set up by government troops.

A militant from Eastern Ghouta holds his weapon as he kisses a child after arriving in
Qal'at al-Madiq town, located some 45 kilometers northwest of the central city of Hama, on March 30, 2018, following the ongoing evacuation deals made between militants and the Damascus government through Russia’s mediation. (Photo by AFP)

They were then transported by buses to militant-controlled areas in the northwestern province of Idlib.

“On March 30, a total of 6,276 militants and members of their families were transported by 141 buses via a humanitarian corridor to the province of Idlib,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement noted that Faylaq al-Rahman (al-Rahman Legion) militants continued to leave Arbin as a result of the agreements reached with the Russian peace and reconciliation center in Syria.

The Russian Defense Ministry further noted that over 150,000 people had left Eastern Ghouta since the launch of daily humanitarian pauses in late February.

The ministry added that civilians continued to return to areas liberated from militants, stressing that humanitarian and medical aids were being delivered to them.

Eastern Ghouta, a besieged area on the outskirts of Damascus which is home to some 400,000 people, has witnessed deadly violence over the past few months, with foreign-sponsored terrorists launching mortar attacks on the Syrian capital in the face of an imminent humiliating defeat. The Syrian army has already taken control of over 80 percent of the militant-controlled territory.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.

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