Armed men start leaving Syria’s Daraa under new deal

Damascus: A batch of local armed men from Syria’s southern province of Daraa were evacuated to the rebel-held areas in the northern part of the country under a Russian-mediated deal to defuse months-long tension, according to a local media report.

A total of 45 armed men and some of their family members left by buses for northern Syria on Thursday after they refused to reconcile with the Syrian authorities in Daraa, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying.

The evacuation is part of a deal to restore security in Daraa, the report said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the armed men who were evacuated on Thursday were the second batch.

It said the Syrian authorities wanted 100 armed men to leave Daraa for the rebel-held areas in northern Syria.

On August 24, a 48-hour truce went into force in Daraa to prepare for the evacuation of the armed men.

Russian military police entered the neighbourhoods in Daraa al-Balad area to prepare for the evacuation.

Following the withdrawal, the Syrian government’s institutions will return to Daraa amid efforts to facilitate the return of thousands of people who fled the area.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) recently placed the number of internally displaced people in Daraa’s al-Balad area and surrounding areas in the province at 38,600, including almost 15,000 women and over 20,400 children.

The Syrian army entered Daraa in 2018 after the rebels there were dislodged to the rebel-held areas in the northwestern province of Idlib.

However, the tension has continued in Daraa with attacks taking place occasionally.

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