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Syrian Regime Empties Two Villages in Damascus Suburbs - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut- The city of al-Tal and the camp of Khan al-Shih in the Damascus suburbs faced on Saturday a fate similar to the cities of Daraya and Maadamiyat Asham where the regime have emptied them from armed opposition fighters, who had accepted to withdraw after Bashar Assad regime forces threatened to invade the cities and towns by force.

Ismail Al-Darani, member of the Revolutionary Council in the Damascus suburbs said that “armed fighters had accepted the conditions of withdrawing for one reason: save besieged civilians from the horrors of explosive barrels.”

The opposition “Sham” news network reported on Saturday that “a meeting held between rebels and civilians following the Friday prayers in the city of al-Tal had concluded that rebels should face Assad forces and their allies.”

However, another meeting held with the regime followed the last agreement. The evacuation deal proposed by Damascus includes 10 points, mainly stipulating that rebels who refuse the agreement would leave with their weapons to any area they choose. The remaining arms would be completely handed to the regime.

The network said that the agreement to start evacuating rebels and their weapons from the two towns would start to be implemented from Saturday.

Al-Darani told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Assad regime forces succeeded to isolate the cities and big towns after their experiences in Daraya, followed by Maadamiyat Asham and then Al-Ham and Qadssaya.

“Things are over in Khan al-Shih. The agreement is currently under execution. Buses already entered the camp to remove armed fighters. As for the city of al-Tal, an agreement was also concluded. But, the execution will only start in a week,” al-Darani said.

An activist in Western Ghoutan Diyaa al-Husseini told Asharq Al-Awsat that what happened in the city of al-Tal and the camp of Khan al-Shih was “an obligatory agreement.”

He said: “Accepting the agreement does not mean that rebels surrendered, but only aims to stop the killing and the suffering of civilians.” According to al-Husseini, the rebels will head to Idlib, which he said, is not safe anymore.

The activists said around 600,000 civilians live in al-Tal, the majority of them are being displaced.

On Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two deals to evacuate rebels and their weapons from parts of the Damascus suburbs have been reached.

The Observatory said buses had arrived to the town’s entrances and surroundings to transport fighters along with their families to the northwestern province of Idlib.

Meanwhile, a series of explosions were heard on Saturday inside an arms and ammunition depot at a joint military camp controlled by Kurds and the International Coalition in northwestern Syria.