DAMASCUS, April 22 (Xinhua) -- The rebels surrendered weapons to the Syrian army in Qalamoun region on Sunday as part of a deal for their evacuation to northern Syria, state news agency SANA reported.
The Islam Army rebels and other militant groups handed over U.S.-made TOW missiles and guided rocket shells, some of them manufactured in Canada, said SANA.
It added that tens of RPG rounds, an electric machine gun and STEYR sniper were among the handed weapons, in addition to large amounts of ammunition and shells, including T-tanks shells, Katyusha, RPG, and artillery.
Surrendering weapons is part of the deal reached recently for the evacuation of rebels and their families from towns in the eastern part of Qalamoun mountainous region toward rebel-held areas in northern Syria.
At dawn Sunday, the first batch of rebels and their families left the areas of Ruhaibeh, Jairud, and Nasriyeh after handing over their weapons, including 30 tanks.
The second batch of the rebels will evacuate on Sunday evening and this process will continue till Monday, with the local reports placing the overall number of evacuees from Qalamoun at between 5,000 to 6,000.
The Syrian government is working to secure the surroundings of Damascus through evacuation deals with rebels, and the ongoing military offensive on IS militants south of the capital.
The Syrian forces have recently seized control of Eastern Ghouta, the key place for the capital's security because of previous daily mortar attacks and infiltration attempts from the rebels in the region.