On May 3, a first batch of militants withdrew from the districts of Aqraba, Beit Sahm, Yalda and Babbila south of the Syrian capital of Damascus, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). The SANA said that the first batch, 31 buses, had departed towards the northern city of Jarabulus.
Under the evacuation agreement which was reached on April 29, Jaysh al-Islam fighters will withdraw to Jarabulus, while the fighters of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) will be leaving towards Idlib governorate and the fighters of Jaysh al-Ababil will withdraw to Daraa governorate.
The total number of the militants who will withdraw is yet to be known, but it is expected to be low. Syrian pro-government sources reported on April 3 that several sheikhs from Damascus had visited the militants in the evacuation area in order to convince them to stay and reconcile with the Damascus government. Many militants reportedly agreed.
Most of the residents of Aqraba, Beit Sahm, Yalda and Babbila districts are well-known to be supporters of the Damascus government. However, these districts were directly occupied by fighters of HTS and Jaysh al-Ababil (linked to the Palestinian Hamas Movement).
Once executed, the evacuation agreement will allow the SAA to increase its pressure on ISIS terrorists in the nearby Yarmouk refugee camp.