1,500 militants lay down arms near Damascus

Press TV- As many as 1,500 militants have laid down arms in a southern suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus to fall under an amnesty law issued by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier this year.

According to the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the gunmen in the village of Kanaker in the Rif Dimashq Province surrendered their weapons and checked at rehabilitation centers.

The amnesty law issued upon the orders of President Assad stipulates that people carrying arms or maintaining them for certain reasons, as well as those on the run from justice can avoid punishment if they surrender and pledge not to participate in any activity endangering national security.

Thousands of militants have so far turned themselves in to enjoy exemption.

Shored up by lavish support from the states opposing the Syrian government, the foreign-backed militants have been waging deadly violence against the country since 2011.

However, since November the government has been making major gains against the terrorists thanks to concerted military operations.

Most recently, the troops liberated the entire northwestern flashpoint city of Aleppo after nearly a month of uphill battle against Takfiri terrorists.

A member of the Syrian pro-government forces walks in eastern Aleppo’s al-Kalasseh neighborhood on December 13, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The gains also come as sheer surprise to the foreign states, which used to confidently consider the central administration to be on its last legs.

The Aleppo battle saw the Syrian soldiers driving militants out of the city’s east, which they had been holding since 2012, in the biggest blow to the militancy since its onset.

The city has now been placed under a ceasefire, during which wounded people are expected to be evacuated.

On Wednesday, militant sources said the evacuation has faced a delay, but noted that the ceasefire was still in place.

‘Aleppo returned to nation’

In another development. Syria’s UN envoy Bashar al-Ja’afari strongly denied reports of “summary killings” by the army in the areas formerly-held by the terrorists.

He made the comments after an Associated Press reported cited sources linked to militants in Aleppo as saying that government forces had carried out “summary killings” and “mass executions” in neighborhoods recaptured on Monday.

The agency, however, added “none of the residents witnessed the alleged killings, and the reports came amid deepening chaos” in the remaining militant-held areas.

Ja’afari further said “Aleppo has been liberated from terrorists and those who toyed with terrorism,” adding, “Aleppo has returned to the nation.”

The Syrian military also denied the claims, saying such allegations were “a desperate attempt” to gain international sympathy.