Over 2,000 Rebels, Families Leave Damascus District in ‘Secret Evacuation’

Rebels Withdraw From Last Area in Qabun

Qabun was a long-standing possession of Syrian rebel factions, one of their main footholds in the Damascus suburbs, though their control over the area appears to have weakened substantially amid infighting between the rebels near the end of last month, followed by a military influx.

Rebel presence in Qabun quietly ended overnight, with a new report by Syria’s state media that over 2,000 people, rebels and their families, departed from Qabun overnight as part of a “secret evacuation deal” which came about after the military threatened to invade their last pocket of the area.

The rebels had been under growing pressure in Qabun over the week, as other recent deals to evacuate rebels from other nearby areas, a threat by the military to take them by force ultimately forced them to agree to another evacuation proposal.

Syria has increasingly relied on evacuation deals to avoid invading surrounded areas, saving them offensives that would have large death tolls and fuel international criticism. The evacuations are not without their critics too, of course, but the limited population transfers surrounding the separation of rebels and military forces is much easier to gloss over than the heavy fighting that seems to be the alternative.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.