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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Leave or face war: Syria, Russia to militants in Eastern Qalamoun

Iran Press TV

Tue Apr 3, 2018 03:02PM

The Syrian government and Russia have given an ultimatum to multiple militant outfits present in Eastern Qalamoun near the capital Damascus to accept state rule and disarm, leave the volatile enclave or face war.

During negotiations with local councils of the main towns of the militant-held area on Tuesday, representatives from the Syrian government and the Russian Peace and Reconciliation Center gave the militants until Wednesday to respond.

The Eastern Qalamoun region, located some 40 kilometers northeast of Damascus, is home to around 350,000 people, including many displaced from the neighboring province of Homs by the atrocities of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. The area includes several towns and a barren expanse of mountainous territory.

Since 2013, the enclave has also been under the control of multiple militant factions, including Ahrar al-Sham and the so-called Syrian Liberation Front outfits. Eastern Qalamoun is also the last stronghold of the Faylaq al-Rahman and the so-called Jaish al-Islam terror groups, after their evacuation from Eastern Ghouta, another region near the capital.

Syria and Russia, which has been engaged in an anti-terror campaign in the Arab country since September 2015 upon an official request from Damascus, intend to wipe out the last pockets of militant-held areas near the capital.

On Saturday, the Syrian military announced full victory against terror groups in Eastern Ghouta after months of intense fighting. It marked the Syrian government's most significant victory over the militant groups since they were driven from eastern Aleppo in 2016.

According to Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the so-called Jaish al-Islam Takfiri terror group and the Syrian government agreed on a settlement to secure those who wish to stay in Douma, Ghouta's largest city, allow the evacuation of those who want to leave, surrender heavy artillery to the Syrian government and allow police to be deployed in the city.

State media also reported that the terror group had accepted a deal giving its members safe passage to the towns at the border with Turkey that are situated in a buffer zone controlled by the Turkish military and allied Syrian armed groups.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.

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