STORY HIGHLIGHTS


Rebels evacuate from E Damascus

CNC
Added On May 15, 2017

In Syria, over 2,200 people, including more than 1,000 rebels, have evacuated the Qaboun neighborhood of  capital Damascus, after the Syrian army took control of the key district.
 
Syria's state TV reported Sunday rebels and their families left Qaboun for the northwestern province of Idlib and the northern city of Jarablus.
 
The rebels had surrendered Qaboun to the army in exchange for access to the rebel-held Idlib.
   
State media said 500 rebels chose to remain in Qaboun after surrendering, while those who left belong to the Nusra Front and will join others in Idlib.
   
The Syrian army recaptured the Qaboun neighborhood after losing it to rebels in 2012. 
   
Qaboun neighbourhood is a strategic point for the Syrian army, as it's located on the road connecting Damascus with the central province of Homs and other important provinces in northern Syria. 
   
The neighborhood is an entry into the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus and holds several large tunnels used by rebels to smuggle arms and fighters to different parts of Ghouta. 
   
Qaboun was also the launching  point of attacks on Damascus, with the largest and most aggressive one happening in March. 
   
In 2014, a truce was reached in Qaboun, but quickly ended.
 
With the three neighborhoods returning to the government, the remaining areas are part of the "de-escalation zones" deal.