Militants, families still being evacuated from Eastern Qalamoun to Syria’s north

Press TV – A number of buses, boarding militants and their families, are on their way toward Jarablus near the Syria-Turkey border after they departed from a number of localities in Syria’s Eastern Qalamoun as part of the evacuation process of militants from the volatile district near the Syrian capital.

Syria’s official SANA news agency on Sunday, citing its correspondence in the area, reported that hundreds of militants and their families, aboard 30 buses, left Ruhaybah, Jayrud and Nasirah in Eastern Qalamoun earlier in the day in an attempt to reach Jarablus, a militant-held town in northern Syria.

As a result of a deal between the Syrian government and militant groups on the withdrawal of militants from the three localities, armed groups and their families have been evacuating Eastern Qalamoun since Saturday, after handing over their weapons and ammunition to the government troops.

The report added that the evacuees were supposed to gather at a point on the outskirts of Ruhaybah, where they would begin the second part of their journey to the north of Syria later in the day.

According to the report, Syrian soldiers managed to seize a number of explosive belts and amounts of ammunition in the militants’ belonging during the inspection at the last checkpoint out of Ruhaybah.

The first batch of militants from Eastern Qalamoun was evacuated on Saturday evening via 35 buses, the report further said, adding that the last batch of evacuation would be carried out on Monday.

Between five to six thousands of militants and their families, in total, would be bussed out of Eastern Qalamoun, some 60 kilometers northeast of Damascus, the report also noted.

On Thursday, the so-called Jaish al-Islam militants and their families evacuated Dumayr in Qalamoun after surrendering their weapons as part of an evacuation agreement with the Syrian government.

Waving the national flag, residents of Dumayr welcomed the government forces into their town after the last of 5,000 militants and their family members boarded buses and left the town for Jarablus.

The Syrian army on April 14 declared the liberation of the town of Douma after the last pockets of militants from the so-called Jaish al-Islam group and their families left their last bastion in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus. The militants and their relatives were fully evacuated to Jarablus.