Syrian war: Government regains Darayya after last rebels leave


Source: BBC

The Syrian government has retaken control of the town of Darayya, after the last rebels left under a deal ending a four-year siege.

Buses containing the final remaining fighters left on Saturday, and are heading towards rebel-held Idlib city.

BBC Arabic reported that the town, near the capital Damascus, is completely empty of rebels, who handed over their heavy weapons before leaving.

Elsewhere at least 15 people died in barrel bombings in Aleppo, reports say.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two barrel bombs struck minutes apart in a rebel-held part of the city.

The first struck crowds mourning child victims of a similar attack earlier this week, while a second hit crowds that gathered after the first bombing, the monitor said.

The UN’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has urged the warring sides in the city of Aleppo to approve safe delivery of vital supplies by Sunday.

A convoy of vehicles arrives in rebel-held Idlib, SyriaImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionRebel fighters are travelling towards rebel-held Idlib city

Thousands of civilians have also left Darayya under the agreement, having endured years of constant shelling and shortages of essentials.

The deal is widely seen as a victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, removing a cluster of rebel fighters from close to Damascus.

“The Darayya file is now closed after the evacuation of all the civilians, armed men and their families under the agreement,” state media reported.

UK Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood said: “We utterly condemn the appalling violence inflicted by the regime on this town” and urged the Syrian government to the UN “immediate humanitarian access to Darayya and to all others in need in Syria”.

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