damascus - After an agreement with the Syrian government, radical fighters and their families with buses leave the rebel area of East Ghouta. Bus transportation from the city of Harasta started on Thursday, reported Syrian state press agency Sana.
The group consists initially of 1580 people, including 413 fighters. Around thirty buses take them to the rebel-controlled Idlib province in the northwest of the country. In total, about 1500 rebels and their 6000 family members will leave the besieged area.
East Ghouta has been one of the heaviest attack waves of the Syrian army in recent weeks. After the withdrawal of the rebels, the Syrian army will take Harasta.
Earlier thousands of citizens had already left Douma in the east of Ghouta. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 4,000 people have been brought to other areas under the supervision of the Syrian government over the past 24 hours.
Harasta is a stronghold of Sunni extremists who have been besieged in this region, East Ghouta, for years. It is the first evacuation of warriors from East Ghouta, which has been divided into three surrounded areas by the offensive of the Syrian army and allies. Harasta is the smallest with a size of roughly 2 by 2 kilometers.
Observers reported that Russians, just like at the time of the evacuation of East Aleppo, were monitoring the exodus of the fighters. These would mainly consist of members of the Ahrar al-Sham movement. That is a group of extremist Sunni ideas that have received support from, among others, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. A relatively moderate combat group calling itself the al-Rahman Legion would not yet have agreed to the departure to the northwestern province of Idlib.