Rebel fighters pray before they are evacuated, outside Harasta in eastern Ghouta, in Damascus, Syria March 23, 2018. (Reuters photo)
DAMASCUS, March 23 (Xinhua) -- The last batch of rebels and their families have evacuated the city of Harasta in Syrian capital Damascus' Eastern Ghouta countryside on Friday, leaving the city empty of rebels, according to the state TV.
The evacuation of rebels and their families from Harasta started on Thursday and ended Friday evening, with a total of 59 buses transporting 3,000 people, including 1,000 rebels.
The rebels in Harasta have handed over their heavy weapons to the Syrian army before they left Harasta towards rebel-held areas in the northwestern province of Idlib.
The TV aired live footages of the entrance of Harasta with Syrian soldiers, celebrating and chanting for President Bashar al-Assad.
The TV titled its coverage as "Harasta is empty of terrorists," as the Syrian government regards most of the rebels as terrorists.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syrian forces have controlled 90 percent of Eastern Ghouta, as part of the wide-scale offensive that has been ongoing since late last month to clear this area on the eastern rim of the capital from the rebels.
Eastern Ghouta, a 105-square-km agricultural region consisting of several towns and farmlands, poses the last threat to the capital due to its proximity to government-controlled neighborhoods east of Damascus and ongoing mortar attacks that target residential areas in the capital, pushing people over the edge.
Four major rebel groups are currently positioned inside Eastern Ghouta, namely the Islam Army, Failaq al-Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham, and the Levant Liberation Committee, known as the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.