Militants in a number of towns and villages in the provinces of Homs and Hama withdrew after they agreed to leave to other parts of Syria, or surrendered to government forces and remained in the area, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on Wednesday, citing an announcement by the Syrian Army’s General Command.
As a result of the evacuation and reconciliation deal, government forces successfully recovered 1,200 square kilometers of territory in central Syria, including 65 towns and villages.
Additionally, the militants handed over their medium and heavy weapons to the Syrian Army, including a number of infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) of the BMP series, rocket launchers, and multiple ZSU-23-4 “Shilka” self-propelled anti-aircraft systems.
This latest victory over hardline Islamist militants, who have plagued Syria for over six years, was hailed by the Syrian Army General Command as a highly strategic victory.
“[The significance of this achievement] is reflected in the uprooting of the armed terrorism from the central region which constitutes a traffic node connecting the Syrian provinces in addition to liberating the dams of al-Rastan and al-Houla, and ending the terrorist threat to sensitive and strategic facilities,” the Syrian Army General Command said in a statement on May 16.
On April 24, Syria’s Minister for National Reconciliation Ali Haidar said that government forces would seek to liberate the militant-held pocket in north Homs once they have successfully expelled terrorists from the Qalamun region.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia.