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Buses carrying rebels and their families are seen on the southern outskirts of Damascus, Syria

Syrian army advances in IS stronghold in southern Damascus

DAMASCUS (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army on Thursday advanced in the Hajar al-Aswad area south of the capital Damascus after days of intense battles with Islamic State (IS) militants.
Syrian government troops split the main IS stronghold into two parts amid a wide-scale offensive to clear IS militants from the areas south of Damascus.
Meanwhile, some rebels, who are not linked to IS, continued to leave their positions for the rebel-held areas in northern Syria under a deal with the government forces, the state news agency SANA reported.
The operation is focused now on Hajar al-Aswad and the IS-held areas in the nearby Yarmouk Camp after the Syrian army recaptured a number of surrounding neighborhoods while other rebel groups started evacuating three towns of Yalda, Babila, and BeitSahem near Hajar al-Aswad.
Those rebels will shift to the rebel-held areas of Jarablus and the northwestern province of Idlib.
The state TV said 32 buses carrying hundreds of rebels and their families started leaving the three towns amid ongoing military offensive on Hajar al-Aswad and Yarmouk Camp.
About 200 rebels and their families from Yarmouk Camp, which are not linked to IS, left the area.
But the people in the towns of Kafraya and Foa in Idlib’s countryside refused to depart in batches, and demanded to leave at once. Last year, a suicide bomber attacked the assembly point of a similar evacuation from the two towns, killing 126 people.
The War Media, the media wing of the Syrian army and its allies, said Syrian forces had entered the areas that were cleared of the rebels.
IS has lost its major stronghold late last year, with the Syrian army capturing the Deir al-Zour city in eastern Syria as well as large swaths of the Syrian desert near the Iraqi border. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces also stripped IS of its de facto capital of Raqqa north of Syria.


(Latest Update May 05, 2018)

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