A displaced Syrian girl holds her national as she stands in a bus in Damascus to return to her home in Qadam after a truce deal was reached between the regime and opposition fighters. Picture Press TV
Hundreds of families displaced by fighting in a neighbourhood on the edge of the Syrian capital returned to their homes Wednesday as part of a truce between the government and local rebels reached last year.
Their return to the Qadam neighbourhood is the latest in a series of ground-level local agreements to end fighting and ease suffering in the war-stricken country.
State news agency SANA said 25 buses transported the returnees from nearby areas after final arrangements had been made for their return to homes fled in 2013-2014 battles that transformed Qadam into a ghost town. The area was largely destroyed by intense fighting that ended with a cease-fire in August 2014 after months of negotiations.
The government has struck several similar deals with rebels in other neighbourhoods and suburbs of Damascus, usually after besieging them for months and pounding them into submission, opposition activists say.
Syrian authorities tout the truces as part of the government’s program of “national reconciliation” to end the conflict, which has killed more than 250,000 people since March 2011.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said around 4,000 residents returned to Qadam and surrounding areas on the southern edge of Damascus on Wednesday.
Separately, Palestinian officials said wounded fighters from the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda-linked militants have begun evacuating from a Palestinian refugee camp and surrounding areas in Damascus over the past few days, in the buildup to another deal that could see more than 3,000 IS fighters leave the area.
The evacuation from Yarmouk camp and Hajar Aswad is part of a U.N.-backed deal reached between the Syrian government and armed factions, and would see the IS fighters and their families transferred mostly to the extremist group’s de-facto capital, Raqqa, in northern Syria, according to Palestinian officials.
“We are seeing the preparations. The buses are already in place. But as always, these negotiations are sensitive,” said Anwar Raja, a Palestinian official in Damascus.
The Islamic State group and the Nusra Front have controlled the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, just a few kilometres (miles) from the heart of Damascus, since April 2015.
Seventeen buses have already departed over the past few days carrying some civilians and wounded people, Khaled Abdul-Majid, another Palestinian official in Damascus, told the AP.
It was not clear when remaining fighters and their families would be evacuated.
The activity around Damascus comes ahead of peace talks in Geneva scheduled for next week. […]
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“The government has struck several similar deals with rebels in other neighbourhoods and suburbs of Damascus, usually after besieging them for months and pounding them into submission, opposition activists say.” This is the work of Ossama Sulweini of the SHRO. The fact that the terrorists attacked the towns and villages in order to take control of them is completely misrepresented by this asshole and no credence whatsoever should be given to this propagandist who lives in my country in Coventry. He is in cahoots with our current government and has a criminal record and should never have been allowed to set foot in this country let alone employed to spread disinformation. Next time you get an offer of information from this SHRO tell him/her “no thanks” because your readers in the UK would like to string Abdulrami (the name he uses in England under a fake passport) up “and don’t want to hear from his corrupt Assad opposition friends in Syria”.
Good news. I praise God for the outcome of this situation which benefit millions of innocent people who have suffered so much due to the greed and evil of Israel who is the epicenter of all the conflicts in the Middle East and everywhere else.
Thank you Russia for your cooperation in this never ending conflict.
Please stop quoting the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights! It is one man in a two bedroom house in Coventry UK being paid in US$’s by a US “charitable organization” to use false propaganda against the Assad government and the SAA.
He reports what he is told to report!!!