Syrian army regains control over all of Damascus


Syria's army declared Monday it is in complete control of Damascus and its outskirts after a devastating battle that forced Islamic State group jihadists to flee their last pocket of resistance in the capital.

On Saturday, Syrian government forces and allied fighters from popular defense groups managed to make further advances on terrorists' lines south of the capital, tightening the noose around foreign-backed terror groups.

In a televised statement on Monday afternoon, Gen Mayhoub announced that "Damascus and its surroundings, its countryside and its towns, are completely secure" following "a series of intensive and successive military operations".

The gains by President Bashar Assad's troops bring greater Damascus - including its far-flung suburbs - fully under government control for the first time since the war began in 2011.

In a separate deal inked on April. 29, the Syrian regime and Tahrir al-Sham, an armed opposition group, agreed to evacuate parts of the Yarmouk camp controlled by the latter.

Syrian army troops and their allies advanced in al-Hajar al-Aswad city, and established control over a number of building blocks on Uroba Street towards al-Wassim Mosque, Syria's official news agency SANA reported.

An Al-Ikhbariya reporter in the area said the coming hours will be "decisive" for restoring government control over Hajar Al-Aswad, but did not mention Yarmouk.

The US military is in much of the east and north-east, which is controlled by Kurdish groups that want autonomy from Damascus.

Syrian soldiers in the Yarmouk camp on Monday
Syrian soldiers in the Yarmouk camp on Monday

The development came after regime forces had captured a key southern portion of Damascus from Daesh, the statement said, including the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk and the adjacent district of Hajar al Aswad.

A resident of Yarmuk who was evacuated on Monday said IS fighters had tried to take precautions.

The Observatory said on Monday that a new batch of fighters and their families left late Sunday, heading east toward the Syrian desert.

Russian Federation has conducted a military campaign in Syria since September 2015, helping reverse the course of war in Syrian President Bashar Assad's favor.

With Iran's help, Assad's forces have been making steady gains since 2015, when Russian Federation launched an air campaign on behalf of his forces.

A media spokesman for Liwa al-Quds, a Palestinian militia that participated in the SAA's anti-IS offensive in south Damascus, told Syria Direct on Sunday that reports about a government-coordinated evacuation of IS were "not true".

While Assad has vowed to win back "every inch" of Syria, the map of the conflict suggests a more complicated time ahead from now on.

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