Syrian army enters eastern Qalamoun after full evacuation of rebels

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-26 05:11:54|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose

DAMASCUS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army and law-enforcement forces entered the eastern part of the Qalamoun region north of Damascus on Wednesday, following the full evacuation of the rebels, state news agency SANA reported.

Celebrations broke out in several towns in the rugged region of Qalamoun, as the last batch of rebels and their families left the region on Wednesday.

The people gathered in public squares in the towns of Ruhaibeh, Nasiriyah and Ataneh in Qalamoun, welcoming the arrival of the Syrian forces, said SANA.

A total of 124 buses transported hundreds of rebels and their families from eastern Qalamoun over the past four days, to evacuate them toward rebel-held areas in northern Syria.

Their evacuation comes under a recent fresh deal, which also allows rebels who don't want to leave to remain in the areas after surrendering weapons.

SANA said a number of rebels handed over their weapons to the Syrian army on Wednesday to settle their criminal records.

Earlier this month, the Syrian army captured the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus after the rebels evacuated in accordance with a deal mediated by Russia, Syria's main ally.

With Qalamoun and Eastern Ghouta under control, the Syrian army is now fighting intense battles against Islamic State (IS) militants in the city of Hajar al-Aswad and the Yarmouk Camp area, the last strongholds of the terror group south of the capital.