Syrian army, rebel groups reach evacuation agreement

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Almost two weeks into a campaign to capture the last area near the capital outside government control that has left many parts of the once teeming Yarmouk camp in ruins, state media announced that the neighborhood next to the camp was retaken.

The announcements followed a more than one week-old regime assault to oust IS fighters from the capital's southern suburbs.

The deal gave fighters the choice between leaving the area with their families or handing over their weapons and staying, SANA said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday that government bombardments killed 17 people, including seven children and two women in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk.

On Sunday, regime warplanes pounded Yarmuk and the neighbouring district of Hajar al-Aswad, the Observatory said.

The army fully captured the neighborhoods of al-Qadam, Mazniyeh, Asali, and Jourah, from IS around the Hajar al-Aswad and the Yarmouk Camp areas in south of the capital, said the report.

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Pierre Krähenbühl, at the Brussels Conference on Syria talking about the embattled Palestine refugee communities across Syria in places like the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, where there have been bombings and a dramatic upsurge in violence.

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Rebels with the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front evacuated the al-Qadam area last month and the IS militants in the nearby areas stormed large parts of the neighborhood.

The announcement of an evacuation deal on Yalda and nearby areas comes after the regime reconquered what was once a key rebel bastion east of Damascus earlier this month.

Eastern Ghouta fell after a brutal military operation and a series of similar evacuation deals brokered by regime ally Russian Federation that saw tens of thousands of residents bussed to northern Syria.

The ultra-hardline Sunni militants also pushed overnight into some positions in the southern Damascus pocket where mainly mainstream rebels operating under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are in control, opposition sources said.

In southern Damascus, "the buildings are close together and alleys narrow" so tanks and heavy weaponry cannot operate, he said.

In February, the US-led coalition backing the SDF carried out air strikes in Deir Ezzor province that killed at least 100 pro-regime fighters.

On Friday, fighting left dozens of people dead or wounded, according to a war monitor and Syrian state media.

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