On April 30, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the National Defense Forces (NDF) and other pro-government factions continued their operation against ISIS in southern Damascus. The most fierce clashes took place in the northern part of the ISIS-held pocket, which had become isolated after the last weekend advance by the SAA and its allies.
At the same time, the Syrian Air Force carried out a new round of airstrikes on ISIS positions in the al-Hajar al-Aswad area and the Yarmouk refugee camp.
According to the Syrian state-run news agency SANA, an evacuation deal is now undergo in the Yarmouk refugee camp area in southnern Damascus. Under the deal, members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham surrounded in the area will be able to wirhdraw to the militant-held part of Idlib province. A SANA correspondent revealed that tens of buses had arrived in the al-Batikha Roundabout at the entrance of al-Yarmouk camp last night.
The evacuation deal in the Yarmouk is a part of the wider deal reached between the government and non-ISIS members in southern Damascus. Under this deal:
- Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies allow the evacuation of the government-held towns of Kefraya and al-Fouaa in eastern Idlib (about 5,000 people);
- Hayat Tahrir al-Sham members in the Yarmouk refugee camp area will withdraw to the province of Idlib;
- Militants in the districts of Aqraba, Beit Sahm, Yalda and Babbila will be able to withdraw towards militant-held parts of western, northern and southern Syria.
As soon as non-ISIS militants are evacuated from southern Damascus, government forces will be able to tighten the siege on the ISIS-held area and to expand efforts to defeat the remaining members of the ISIS militant group in the Yarmouk refugee camp and the nearby area.