x

Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Biggest convoy yet leaves rebel pocket of Syria's Ghouta, state media says

More than 6,000 people left a part of the enclave controlled by Faylaq Al Rahman

The largest convoy yet of Syrian rebel fighters and civilians began leaving a beseiged pocket of Eastern Ghouta overnight, state media said on Tuesday.

One hundred buses carrying a total of 6,749 people — about a quarter of them fighters — left a part of the enclave controlled by the Faylaq Al Rahman rebel faction, the Sana state news agency said.

The departure was part of a deal reached last week between the group and Russia, which is helping its Syrian ally negotiate such deals to clear the last rebels out of Ghouta.

Russian-backed Syrian troops and allied militia have waged an offensive since February 18 in which they have recaptured more than 90 per cent of Ghouta, a one-time rebel bastion on the edge of Damascus.

___________

Read more

Fresh rebel withdrawals from Syria's shrinking Ghouta

Ghouta residents relieved to arrive in Idlib after weeks of terror

___________

Moscow has negotiated two evacuation deals so far for Ghouta.

One, implemented last week, involved hardline rebels from Ahrar Al Sham leaving the town of Harasta in the west of the enclave.

The agreement with Faylaq Al Rahman was announced on Friday and its implementation started the following morning.

Nearly 1,000 people — including rebels, their relatives and other civilians — were moved out on Saturday, followed by 5,435 people on Sunday.

President Bashar Al Assad has used such agreements to recover territory lost since the uprising against him began seven years ago this month.

A Syrian woman looks out of the window of a bus as Syrian civilians and rebel fighters evacuated from Eastern Ghouta arrive in a government-held area at the entrance of Harasta on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on March 26, 2018. 
More than 2,500 Syrian rebels and civilians prepared to leave Eastern Ghouta on March 26 after the largest exodus yet from the opposition enclave, as talks stalled over the final pocket of resistance. / AFP PHOTO / LOUAI BESHARA
A Syrian woman looks out of the window of a bus as Syrian civilians and rebel fighters evacuated from Eastern Ghouta arrive in a government-held area at the entrance of Harasta on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on March 26, 2018. Louai Beshara / AFP