Syrian forces are inching towards 100% victory against rebel groups in Eastern Ghouta as Jaish al-Islam members started leaving Douma City to rebel-held Idlib province on Sunday.
This follows a late night deal on Saturday reached between Jaish al-Islam, civic leaders and Russia.
Initial reports said the deal was only for critically injured people trapped in Douma.
Jaish al-Islam may have taken cue from another rebel group Faylaq al-Rahman. Some 41,000 members of Faylaq al-Rahman surrendered arms and left Erbin (pictured Credit: SANA), Jobar, Ein Tarma, and Zamalka settlements in Eastern Ghouta to Idlib on Saturday.
The evacuation by Jaish al-Islam comes amid reports that Syrian forces have recaptured 95% of Eastern Ghouta after a major push and Russia-brokered evacuation deals.
Douma had been surrounded by the Syrian army who might have launched an offensive had the rebels and civilians decided to stay put.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wants 100% recapture of Eastern Ghouta to celebrate the second big victory after the recapture of Aleppo in December 2016.
In a statement on Saturday, Syria’s General Command of the Army and Armed Forces hailed the military achievement as a crushing blow to the Wahhabi plot against Syria.
It said army units secured the exit of tens of thousands of civilians, whom the “terrorists” had used as human shields, to makeshift centres equipped with all facilities to guarantee them a decent life.
The victory for government forces in Eastern Ghouta will restore full security and stability to Damascus city, it said.