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Syria Monitor: UN Deal to Relocate Some IS Fighters, Families

  • Reuters

FILE - Rubble and heavy damage remain on a deserted street during a government escorted visit to Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Syria, April 9, 2015. The United Nations brokered a deal to relocate some IS fighters and their families.

FILE - Rubble and heavy damage remain on a deserted street during a government escorted visit to Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Syria, April 9, 2015. The United Nations brokered a deal to relocate some IS fighters and their families.

Hundreds of families of Islamic State militants and some injured fighters are expected to leave rebel-held areas of southern Damascus under a U.N.-brokered deal, a monitoring group said on Thursday.

Safe passage would be given from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk on the outskirts of Damascus and neighboring Hajar al Aswad, said Rami Abdulraham, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The families and some fighters will be taken to Raqqa in northern Syria, the stronghold of the militant Sunni Islamist group, and other IS-controlled areas over several months, eventually ending the group's presence near the capital.

The Islamic State group has had a significant foothold in Hajar al Aswad, just a few kilometers from President Bashar al-Assad's seat of power.

Syrian minister for national reconciliation Ali Haidar told Reuters efforts were under way to get militants out of the Yarmouk camp but gave no details.

Several local cease-fires and safe-passage agreements have been concluded elsewhere in Syria recently.

One, brokered with support from Iran and Turkey, halted fighting in the town of Zabadani on the Lebanese border, and in two villages in the northwest.

A deal was also reached in the last rebel-held district of the Syrian city of Homs that allowed rebels and their families to leave the besieged area. The U.N. said the agreement could help pave the way for a nationwide truce.

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