Evacuation of rebels, civilians from Daraya completed
Damascus, Aug 28 (IANS) The second stage of evacuating the rebels from the town of Daraya west of the capital Damascus was completed on Saturday, marking the full return of that town under the Syrian military control, according to state news agency SANA.
Saturday marked the completion of a deal reached on Thursday between the Syrian army and the rebels in Daraya, under which the first batch of civilians and rebels left the town on Friday, while the process was completed on Saturday, Xinhua reported.
Meanwhile, the state-run al-Ekhbaria TV said Daraya has become empty of the rebels, and fully under the control of the Syrian army for the first time since 2012.
The deal concluded for Daraya included the departure of the rebels who don’t want to reconcile with the government along with their families to rebel-held areas in the northwestern province of Idlib.
SANA initially said 4,000 civilians were to leave Daraya, as well as 700 rebels.
Still, the agency didn’t give the final number of evacuees, but all pro-government news outlets stated that the city has become empty.
Civilians, who want to live under the government control, were transported by buses to the town of Hirjalleh in the southern countryside of Damascus.
The ambitious deal, for the government part at least, marked the return of one of the most important rebel bastion to the “lap of the homeland,” as the government likes to call it.