Yesterday, there were reports of a UN deal allowing ISIS fighters out of the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in southern Damascus. Hezbollah today revealed the deal is much broader and included other Islamist factions, including al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.
All told, the expectation is that the buses will be evacuating some 2,000 Islamist fighters, along with their families, out of areas around southern Damascus. They will have to hand in heavy weapons, but can keep smaller arms, and will be taken into their respective territories.
A lot of the rebel-held suburbs around Damascus have been surrounded by the military and posed no real threat to launch offensives at the capital city, but worsening humanitarian situations eventually got them to agree to cede the territory outright just for a ride out of the area.
Such local deals have been presented by the UN as a potential bases for broader negotiation and settlements in the civil war. This seems unlikely with groups like ISIS, however, as both sides seem to be determined to downplay the chances of not being at war forever.
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