On April 20, several units of the Russian Military Police entered the key town of al-Ruhaybah in the southern part of the Eastern Qalamun region, according to Syrian opposition sources.
The deployment of the Russian Military Police is a part of the evacuation deal that was reached after the surrender of the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Eastern Qalamun on April 19.
Meanwhile, Syrian pro-government sources reported that US-backed FSA had handed over their positions in the mountains of al-Batraa and al-Afa’y in the northern part of Eastern Qalamun to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). According to local sources, the evacuation deal allows the SAA to deploy its forces in the mountainous areas of the region, while the Syrian security forces will be deployed inside the civilian areas.
Opposition sources said that the evacuation of the FSA fighters from Eastern Qalamun to the northern governorate of Aleppo and Idlib is set to start on April 21. At the same time, the FSA will hand over its heavy weapons, including heavy rockets and battle tanks, to the SAA.
Its unknown yet how many FSA fighters opted to withdraw to northern Syria. However, Syrian pro-government activists believe that the number is very low, as many local sources reported previously that most of FSA fighters want to stay and join the pro-government Nation Defense Forces (NDF).