Syrian army moves into Yarmouk after IS evacuation deal

Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces are seen in Deir Ezzor Syria

The Syrian army has declared Damascus and its surrounds fully secure after regaining control of a former Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) stronghold in the southern part of the city.

In a live broadcast, a reporter with Syrian state TV said the regime's army operations in the Hajjar Al-Aswad area were nearing their end and insurgent lines were collapsing as columns of smoke rose from the area behind him.

On Sunday, a war monitor said fighters had begun withdrawing from the area towards Islamic State territory in eastern Syria under a surrender deal, but state media said fighting continued.

The fighting in southern Damascus has left scores of dead on both sides and caused massive destruction in the Yarmouk camp, which was a built-up residential area, and its surroundings.

Syria's state media denied a deal was reached to evacuate fighters.

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.

Officials said the ceasefire ended at noon on Monday, according to the AP.

According to Al-Masdar, members of the Islamic State terror group (IS, outlawed in Russia) left the camp last night, taking advantage of a humanitarian pause.

But the secretive nature of the withdrawals meant it was not immediately clear how many IS fighters or civilians - if any - remained in Yarmouk, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The Damascus government was fiercely criticised over the agreement, which also enraged the US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against IS in Syria since 2014.

Yarmouk was the largest Palestinian camp in Syria and was put under crippling government siege in 2012 - making it one of the longest besiegements of Syria's war. The channel's area correspondent said the coming hours would be "decisive" for restoring government control in Hajar al-Aswad, but didn't mention Yarmouk.

Once a thriving district home to some 160,000 Palestinians and Syrians, Yarmuk's population has fallen to just a few hundred people.

On Sunday, activists reported that the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by artillery from the US -led coalition, have shelled Hajin, the main IS stronghold in the province on the eastern banks of the Euphrates river.

"A second batch of elements from ISIS left after midnight", the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Takfiri terrorists have lost much of the territory they once held in Syria amid sweeping gains by government forces on the ground.



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