Yesterday afternoon, 15 rebel fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) affiliated Martyrs of Islam Brigade turned themselves in to Syrian authorities under an amnesty deal which entails them avoiding prosecution.
All 15 FSA militants were Syrian nationals and mostly locals; they were reportedly convinced by a commander of the Syrian Arab Army to give up their weapons.
Darayya has been the site of possibly Syria’s heaviest clashes ever since the summer of 2012 as Islamist rebels have transformed the town in to an insurgent stronghold.
Astonishingly, Darayya is now one of few areas in Syria were the UN-brokered February 27 ceasefire is still in effect, thus giving vital breathing room to both parties.
The 2-month cessation of hostilities also seems to explain why the 15-man FSA unit raised the white flag today as its exhausted insurgent fighters wished to return to their families and regular life after years of seemingly endless urban warfare.
Nevertheless, hundreds of fighters of the Martyrs of Islam Brigade and the Rahman Brigade are still present inside Darayya as their forces rely exclusively upon tunnels to supply the isolated district with food and ammunition.
Meanwhile, fierce clashes have erupted elsewhere in Damascus as the rebel-held East Ghouta pocket has been cut in two by advancing government troops.