Hundreds of Rebels Leave Damascus Suburb Under Evacuation Deal

State Media: 718 Rebels Withdraw From Areas Around Eastern Ghouta

According to Syrian state media, 1,246 people, including 718 rebels, were evacuated from the districts of Barzeh and Tishreen, near the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. They are being evacuated northward to the rebel-held areas around the Idlib Province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the evacuation, though their numbers were much smaller. They appear to have been preliminary figures, based primarily around Barzeh. The rebels are holding dwindling territory in Eastern Ghouta, which is surrounded by government forces.

This is the latest in a long line of local evacuation deals which have allowed rebels and civilians in areas that are no longer defensible to withdraw to other rebel areas, which also saves the Syrian government from having to conduct high-casualty offensives or protracted sieges.

Rebel infighting in Eastern Ghouta has allowed the Syrian military to increase the pressure on the area’s outskirts, which is increasing the rate at which the rebels are losing ground. This is materially the last real area around which rebels still control territory in metro Damascus.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.