All kidnapped by Islam Army rebels reach gov't positions near Damascus

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-10 05:22:11|Editor: yan
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DAMASCUS, April 9 (Xinhua) -- All kidnapped people by the Islam Army rebels in the Douma district near Damascus were released on Monday evening and reached the Syrian army position near the capital Damascus, state TV reported.

Buses transporting the second batch of the released people, including all the remaining abductees in the Islam Army prisons, reached the Wafideen area northeast of Damascus after leaving the nearby district of Douma, the last rebel-held area in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus.

These people will be taken to the Faiha Stadium in Damascus to reunite with their families.

A day earlier, 50 people were released from the Islam Army's captivity in Douma.

The release of kidnapped people from Douma is the priority of the Syrian army in a deal reached Sunday for the evacuation of the Islam Army rebels and their families.

The state TV did not give the number of the released people, who had been kidnapped since 2013, but some reports placed the number between 3,500 and 5,000.

The state TV cited an official source as saying the rebels exaggerated the number of kidnapped people to enhance their position in the negotiation with the government forces.

The fresh agreement between the Islam Army and the Syrian government under the mediation of Russia is the second reached recently after the rebels' failure to live up to their previous pledges to leave Douma toward Jarablus and release the kidnapped people.

Recent estimates placed the number of the militants who will evacuate Douma at 8,000 and their families at 40,000.

The full evacuation of the rebels and their families from Douma will be the last one in Eastern Ghouta, as the entire region has been captured by the Syrian army after 43,000 rebels and their families left other areas of Eastern Ghouta late last month.