Syrian Rebels Agree to Evacuate Qaeda-Linked Fighters From Eastern Ghouta

Syrian Rebels Agree to Evacuate Qaeda-Linked Fighters From Eastern Ghouta

Government troops and allied militia launched their military campaign for Eastern Ghouta on February 18 and have since overrun more than half of the area, defying global calls for a halt to the violence. He said they would "purge" the town and then carry on further east.

The cease-fire endorsed more than a week ago by the United Nations Security Council - but not yet implemented - does not cover H.T.S., a coalition of rebel forces led by the Nusra Front, a group that was formed as Al Qaeda's Syria affiliate and is listed internationally as a terrorist group.

Syrian state television broadcast footage from inside Mesraba; the capture of that town and surrounding farmland brings important roads under Syrian army fire, effectively cutting the large rebel-held towns of Harasta and Douma off from each other. "So Ghouta will gain by finishing with these people".

A picture from Syrian state TV showing unidentified "fighters", evacuated from Eastern Ghouta.

The government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media said troops reached the centre of the town of Misraba, adding that opposition fighters are crumbling amid the offensive.

The trucks had been stuck at the Wafideen crossing the entire week, waiting to enter to deliver the remaining food parcels and flour bags.

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Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said talks were underway between government representatives and local figures to organise the evacuation of civilians or fighters from parts of the enclave.

The limited operation came as the powerful Jaish al-Islam said HTS fighters would be evacuated to the northern province of Idlib, in an arrangement struck following consultations with the United Nations and other global players.

According to reports, more than 400,000 people still reside in the region, seven years into the Syrian civil war.

Within the last eight months, the regime has stepped up the siege, preventing food and medicine from entering the district, leaving thousands of residents in need of medical treatment.

In January, Turkey began an offensive to oust the Kurdish YPG militia from the Afrin region in northern Syria, near the Turkish border.

HTS is the main force in Idlib, in Syria's northwest and the last province outside regime control.

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