New deal linked for rebels to exit from Syrian town: State news agency

Vastavam web: Syrian state media today reported that rebels from the Jaish al-Islam faction would quit another town east of Damascus, just days after evacuating their main bastion outside the capital.State news agency SANA said a new deal had been inked for the rebels to exit the town of Dumayr, around 50 kilometres east of Damascus.Jaish al-Islam had maintained control over the town since 2016 under a “reconciliation” agreement with regime forces, whereby they would not fire at each other.

Rebels had already begun handing over heavy weapons as part of the agreement, it said. Jaish al-Islam has not commented on the deal.It comes three days after Jaish al-Islam evacuated the last opposition-held town in the onetime rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta. Their departure paved the way for the Syrian army to declare its full control over Ghouta, after a ferocious two-month military assault on the enclave.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said today that government forces were keen to clear out the armed opposition from any territory near Damascus.

“Regime forces, after taking all of Eastern Ghouta, want to finish off the rest of the rebel fighters around the capital so they can secure it,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.”This is why they’re replacing the reconciliation deals with evacuation agreements,” he told AFP.Similar rebel departures were being negotiated for other nearby towns and for areas south of Damascus including Yalda, Beit Saham, and Babila, the Observatory said.