Syrian regime declares Damascus fully secure

  • Syrian regime declares Damascus fully secure

Syrian regime declares Damascus fully secure

"The Syrian army announces today that Damascus, its outskirts and surrounding towns are completely secure", it said in a statement carried on regime-affiliated media.

The high command said army would continue to fight "terrorism" across Syria.

Pro-Syrian government forces have been battling for weeks to recover al-Hajar al-Aswad district and the adjacent Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp from Islamic State group since driving anti-government groups from eastern Ghouta in April.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom -based war monitor group, said there was a Russian-brokered deal between the Syrian government and IS militants to leave the area.

A war monitoring group said some 1,600 people, including hundreds of IS gunmen left the area on Saturday and Sunday, heading toward the desert east of the country following a deal with the government.

Piles of rubble were still blocking most streets, making them impossible for cars to access during a media tour of the area organised by Syria's government.

Some ISIS fighters were allowed to leave the Yarmouk camp and neighbouring area Al Tadamon.

"A second batch of elements from ISIS left after midnight", the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

President Bashar al-Assad has used military assaults and negotiated withdrawals to secure territory all around the capital in recent months, before turning to Yarmuk.

"With the start of a political process in its more active phase, foreign armed forces will be withdrawn from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic", Mr. Putin said.

The evacuations came a day after an apparent deal was reached to put an end to a ferocious month-long offensive to oust IS from its last positions in southern Damascus.

Syrian government troops and allies controlled the al-Hajar al-Aswad district and the Palestinian Refugee Camp of Yarmouk in southern Damascus, military sources reported.

"The Syrian government does not admit to negotiating with IS and wants to make sure the convoy is not targeted by the coalition led by Washington", he said.

"The largest group went towards Syria's Badiya, because the Americans did not agree to let them enter pockets east of the Euphrates where the Syrian Democratic Forces are present".

Vladimir Putin's envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, said on Friday that the Russian President's statement about the need for foreign troop pullout from Syria referred to Iran, Mr. Assad's key regional ally.

Iran and Russian Federation have joined forces in Syria, providing crucial military support to Assad's forces and giving them the upper hand in the civil war.