IS evacuation of southern Damascus frozen after mass kidnapping in Deiral-Zour province


DAMASCUS, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The planned evacuation of thousands of militants of the Islamic State (IS) militants along with their families from southern districts of capital has been frozen, a Syrian lawmaker said on Wednesday.
The evacuation of around 5,000 militants of the IS along with their families from the southern districts of Yarmouk Camp and al-Hajar al-Aswad was frozen after the militant groups kidnapped over 400 people in Syria's eastern province of Deir al-Zour earlier this week, according to Sharif Shehadeh.
Meanwhile, pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV said the evacuation, which was due on Wednesday, could continue if the IS released the kidnapped people in the town of Bughailiyeh in the countryside of Deir al-Zour.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the IS terror group released 270 out of the kidnapped 400.
It said that top leaders of the IS had already evacuated southern Damascus districts over the past few days. It noted that the rest of the IS militants and their families were supposed to evacuate on Wednesday.
A day earlier, local al-Watan newspaper said the IS militant group and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front are expected to withdraw from areas under their control in south of the capital Damascus within 72 hours.
The IS and Nusra will pull out of the areas of the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk, and the adjacent districts of Hajar al-Aswad, said the newspaper. It added that local militants from the aforementioned areas will fill the void after the withdrawal of the hardline groups.
Al Watan didn't give details about the destination of the IS and Nusra, but previous reports said those groups will head to the northwestern province of Idlib, a stronghold of the Nusra Front, and the al-Raqqa province, the de facto capital of the IS in northern Syria.
Several truces and evacuation of rebels have taken place recently in Syria, particularly around Damascus, in the latest effort by the government to clear the vicinity of the capital from insurgent groups.
The government concludes such truces by laying tight siege on rebel-held areas to force the rebels to abandon their positions under negotiated deals, largely mediated by the UN.


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