17:01 GMT +318 August 2018
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    A Russian soldier stands guard near a Syrian national flag drawn on the wall as rebel fighters and their families evacuate the besieged Waer district in the central Syrian city of Homs, after an agreement reached between rebels and Syria's army, Syria May 21, 2017

    Russian Delegation Reportedly Enters Syrian Town for Militant Surrender Talks

    © REUTERS / Omar Sanadiki
    Middle East
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    Troops from the Syrian Army have liberated much of the East Ghouta region in Damascus from hardline Islamist militants in recent weeks. With this area almost entirely under the control of government troops, the Syrian Army is likely to soon take aim at other militant-held parts of the capital.

    Negotiators from a Russian military delegation entered a town in southern Damascus to discuss a transfer or surrender deal with militants, according to reports by Syrian media, citing an informed source in the capital.

    The delegation from the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria reportedly entered the town of Babbila this afternoon to provide the militants stationed there with an opportunity to reconcile with the government or be transferred to another area – most likely to the northwestern province of Idlib.

    Babbila is not a part of the East Ghouta region, and has witnessed little fighting between the Syrian Army and occupying militants, as it has been under a ceasefire agreement for months.

    Syrian authorities are currently in the process of transferring militants from a cluster of towns and settlements in East Ghouta to northwestern Syria, as part of a large transfer deal.

    READ MORE: Operation Damascus Steel: Syrian Army's Liberation of E Ghouta Almost Complete

    Militants in the city of Douma refused a similar deal earlier this week, and forces from the Syrian Army are massing in the city's perimeter in preparation of storming it.

    The Syrian Army and its allied ground forces launched operation Damascus Steel last month to oust militants from East Ghouta to halt the daily barrage of militant rocket fire on government-held parts of the city, which has resulted in thousands of civilian casualties throughout the multi-year war.

    Including the areas which are voluntarily being vacated by militants, the Syrian Army effectively controls around 85 percent of the initial East Ghouta pocket and will almost certainly recover the remainder over the coming weeks.

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    Tags:
    reconciliation, negotiations, ceasefire, Operation Damascus Steel, Syria crisis, Russian center for Syrian reconciliation, Jaish al-Islam, Syrian Army, Syrian government, East Ghouta, Syria, Russia, Damascus
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