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Militants surrender another area near Damascus to government: State media

Militants and their families, who have been evacuated from a town east of the capital Damascus, carry their belongings after disembarking from a bus, which has brought them to the city of Azaz in the northern countryside of Aleppo, April 20, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Syrian media say Takfiri militants have agreed to surrender another area near the capital, Damascus, under a deal with the government, which enables their exit to northern Syria.

“An agreement has been reached in the area of Eastern Qalamoun providing for terrorists to exit al-Ruhayba, Jayrud and Al-Nasiriya starting from” Saturday, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.

Some 3,200 militants and their families were expected to leave as per the agreement, according to state media.

The militants would hand over heavy and medium-size weapons as well as ammunition depositories to the government before leaving for the northern town of Jarablus in Aleppo Province and the neighboring province of Idlib, which is the last major militant-held territory in Syria.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said buses had already entered East Qalamoun to transfer the militants and their family members out of the area.

The latest militant evacuation deal came a day after the so-called Jaish al-Islam terrorists handed back another Qalamoun town, Dumayr, to the Damascus government and headed to Jarablus.

The Syrian army continues its push to secure Damascus and its surroundings after it liberated the entire Eastern Ghouta last week on the back of both military operations and evacuation deals with the militants there.

The country is also preparing to cleanse the southern districts of Damascus, including Yarmouk, of Takfiri Daesh and al-Nusra Front terrorists.

Syrian jets reportedly targeted Daesh positions in al-Hajar al-Aswad district in the capital’s periphery. A Daesh hideout and their ammunition depots were destroyed.

The area is much smaller than Eastern Ghouta.

Daesh was defeated by the Syrian army and its allies late last year after three years of afflicting the country with unrelenting bloodshed and destruction.

The army, however, is on alert to get rid of pockets of Daesh remnants still active in the country.

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