Over 330 militants lay down arms in Aleppo: Russia
Demoralized by the Syrian army’s victory on the Aleppo front, hundreds of foreign-backed militants have laid down arms as government forces are securing the exit of thousands of civilians from the embattled city.
On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said 336 militants have surrendered and moved out of the eastern parts of Aleppo over the past 24 hours, Interfax reported.
The ministry also said almost 6,000 civilians, among them 2,000 children, have also been evacuated from the formerly militant-held areas of the city.
Another report by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said asmany as 1,500 militants have laid down arms in a southern suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus to fall under an amnesty law issued by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier this year.
It said the gunmen in the village of Kanaker in the Rif Dimashq Province surrendered their weapons and checked at rehabilitation centers.
The amnesty law issued upon the orders of President Assad stipulates that people carrying arms or maintaining them for certain reasons, as well as those on the run from justice can avoid punishment if they surrender and pledge not to participate in any activity endangering national security.
Thousands of militants have so far turned themselves in to enjoy exemption.
Since November the government has been making major gains against the terrorists thanks to concerted military operations.
Most recently, the troops liberated the entire northwestern flashpoint city of Aleppo after nearly a month of uphill battle against Takfiri terrorists.
The city has now been placed under a ceasefire, during which wounded people are expected to be evacuated.
Under the ceasefire deal, brokered by Russia and Turkey, the militants were to start evacuating from Aleppo along with civilians in the early hours of Wednesday.
Media aired footage of Syrian government buses at an evacuation point, with reports saying there has been a delay in the process.
Al-Mayadeen reported that the buses are to move 5,000 fighters and their families to Atareb, a town in the northwestern Aleppo countryside.
The Syrian government has not made any comments about the reports.
‘Militants dumping secret documents’
Meanwhile, sources on the ground said the foreign-backed militants have set fire to the facilities that served as their operation bases in Aleppo in an attempt to get rid of the secret documents revealing the links between the terror groups and their Western supporters, Fars News Agency.
The Takfiri terrorists with the Nour al-Din al-Zenki militant group torched schools and residential buildings in the southeastern neighborhoods of Aleppo before leaving the city under the ceasefire deal, the sources added.
According to the report, the burnt documents included information on terror groups’ ties Turkey and Saudi Arabia, among other foreign parties.
‘Aleppo returned to nation’
In another development. Syria’s UN envoy Bashar al-Ja’afari strongly denied reports of “summary killings” by the army in the areas formerly-held by the terrorists.
He made the comments after an Associated Press reported cited sources linked to militants in Aleppo as saying that government forces had carried out “summary killings” and “mass executions” in neighborhoods recaptured on Monday.
The agency, however, added “none of the residents witnessed the alleged killings, and the reports came amid deepening chaos” in the remaining militant-held areas.
Ja’afari further said “Aleppo has been liberated from terrorists and those who toyed with terrorism,” adding, “Aleppo has returned to the nation.”
The Syrian military also denied the claims, saying such allegations were “a desperate attempt” to gain international sympathy.
Militant revenge attacks
Since the start of the Aleppo battle, the militants have stepped up indiscriminate attacks against government-held parts of the city and elsewhere in the country.
On Wednesday, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Takfiri militants had launched deadly mortar attacks against Aleppo’s Jam’iat Zahra and Masjid al-Rahman districts.
The attacks killed four civilians, including two girls, and injured several others.
Separately, the monitor said, the Takfiri terror group of Daesh had killed a woman and her child in an attack in the eastern Syria city of Deir Ezzor.