A group of internally displaced persons (IDPs) left the al-Rukban refugee camp and returned to the government-held town of Mahin in southern Homs, the Sham FM radio station reported on January 3 citing Syrian officials.
“The local reconciliation committees cooperated with the authorities to facilitate the return of the families and locals to Mahin and they are now working to facilitate the return of more displaced people to all their areas in rural Homs and other regions,” Sham FM quoted one of the officials as saying.
According to the Syrian radio station, the first group of IDPs consisted of 209 civilians, mainly women, children and elders. More groups are expected to return in the upcoming few weeks.
The al-Rukban refugee camp is located within the 55km de-escalation zone around the US-led coalition base in the border area of al-Tanaf. The coalition will be withdrawing from the area soon as a part of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out all American troops from Syria.
The U.S. decision led to a panic among US-backed groups in the de-escalation zone, which began talks with Damascus in order to avoid being smashed by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) after the withdrawal of American troops. The return of the first group of IDPs is likely the first result of these talks.