The Syrian military has established control over a district near the capital Damascus after the planned evacuation of foreign-backed armed opposition forces from the area was completed, state media say.
The Qaboun district, located some 6 kilometers northeast of the capital's center, "is empty of militants," the Damascus provincial governor was quoted as saying by state TV on Monday.
The news of total clearance of Qaboun was announced a few hours after some 1,300 armed opposition forces along with their families left the district following some two years of occupation. The evacuees, according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, headed for areas further east of the capital or to the northeastern province of Idlib.
On Sunday, more than 2,000 armed opposition forces and their families left the district, with their dream of capturing Damascus and toppling the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad totally shattered.
Syrian state TV said several hundred of the opposition members who laid down their arms had decided to stay in Qaboun under an accord reached between the two sides as the government forces took control.
The government has concluded a number of similar evacuation deals in the past few months to further bring back security and stability to the Arab country. Such agreements have already brought about the evacuation of nearby Barzeh and Tishrin districts earlier in the week.
The foreign-backed militancy began in 2011, featuring proxy fighting in Syria on behalf of regional and extra-regional countries, such as the United States, Qatar, and Turkey.
While the militancy has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives among civilians and forced million-strong internal and external displacements, the militants complain that Damascus is trying to bring about demographic changes in the Arab country by concluding evacuation or reconciliation deals. The authorities reject the claim.
“It’s a turning point in the conflict. It’s a victory for the Syrian state. Reconciliation is a defeat for those waging war against Syria," said Ahmad Munir Mohammed, a government adviser on national reconciliation.