The first batch of people evacuated from Harasta city in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta has arrived to Qalaat Al-Madiq town in Hama province in accordance with the agreement reached between the militants and the Syrian Army.
According to local sources, the convoy which has arrived to Qalaat Al-Madiq early in the morning has brougt 1908 persons, including militants and their families.
It was presiouvly announced that some 1500 militants and 6000 members of their families were planning to leave Harasta. The time of the departure of the second convoy has not been defined yet.
The evacuation was made possible due to the deal reached between Ahrar Al-Sham militants and the Syrian Army. The deal, brokered by Russia, granted the militants save passage or settlement of their legal status in exchange for laying down their arms.
Another negotiations are reportedly under way in Douma between Jaysh Al-Islam and the Syrian Army.
A similar agreement was successfully implemented in Saqba town a few days earlier. According to the deal, reached via negotiations between the local citizens and a representative of the Syrian government the militants were obliged to leave the area before the entrance of the Syrian troops, while civilians were allowed to remain in their homes. Those who choose to leave were given the opportunity to evacuate to the nearby towns of Zamalka and Aytn Tarma.
In recent days, the Syrian troops made huge advances in Eastern Ghouta, effectively cutting the suburb in three isolated parts: Douma under control of Jaysh al-Islam, central sector under control of Faylaq al-Rahman and Harasta under control of Ahrar al-Sham.
Eastern Ghouta has become the latest flashpoint in the Syrian conflict after the government forces launched a military campaign seeking to liberate the area from militant groups, including Jaysh al-Islam, Faylak al-Rahman and HTS.
To ensure the security of civilians, the Syrian authorities have created a humanitarian corridor and introduced a daily ceasefire lasting from 9:00 to 14:00. During this period the local citizens will be able to safely exit the area and receive medical assistance at the centres created in co-operation with the Syrian Red Crescent Society.
Previously, the SAA began to evacuate civilians from Hazrama and Nashabiya neighbourhoods of Eastern Ghouta after they had been liberated from the militants. Several thousands people were able to leave the area via humanitarian corridors.