BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:55 A.M.) – According to new reports from semi-official Russian sources, several hundred militants and at least one thousand of their family members have been evacuated from the district of Al-Qadam in southern Damascus.
Reports from the TASS news agency claim that some 300 armed gunmen and ‘more than 1,000’ relatives left the south Damascus suburb for the town of Qalaat al-Mudiq in northwestern Hama province.
Qalaat al-Mudiq (for many years an unbreachable rebel stronghold) fully reconciled with the Syrian government less than one week ago following a breakthrough in Russian-mediated inter-faction talks.
The voluntary withdrawal of insurgent fighters from Al-Qadam was part of a deal struck as early as September 2017, but since took six months to realize.
Islamic State forces reacted with an offensive on the district amid the withdrawal of rival militants but were rebuffed by the Syrian Army who eventually assumed control of 70 percent of it following a day of heavy clashes.