On March 10, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) warned the militants in al-Qadam district south of the Syrian capital, Damascus, that it will launch a military operation against them in coordination with Russia if they do not agree on a reconciliation or evacuation agreement within 48 hours, according to the Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Enab Baladi.
Enab Baladi reported that a reconciliation agreement will force the militants to join the SAA and attack ISIS in the Yarmouk camp south of the al-Qadam district. A Syrian opposition source from al-Qadam told Enab Baladi that the militants will not agree on this, but will likely accept an evacuation agreement, which will allow them to withdraw to other opposition-held areas.
Currently, there are more than 600 militants south of Damascus, according to Enab Baladi. The militants there had not launched any attacks against the SAA, even before the de-escalation agreement was reached.
Syrian opposition sources reported in January and December of 2017 that a deal had been reached to evacuate the militants from southern Damascus. However, both attempts failed, likely because Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) had rejected them.
The evacuation of militants from southern Damascus will tighten the SAA grip around the ISIS-held part of the Yarmouk camp. Syrian pro-government activists believe that the camp will become the main target of the SAA and its allies once they secure the East Ghouta region.