Rebels start handing over heavy weapons to Syrian army in Damascus' Dumair

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The rebels in Dumair area will follow the lead of their comrades who evacuated Douma last week and moveD to the rebel-held city of Jarablus, as part of the deal with the government.

Syrian soldiers walk past a bus transporting Islam Army rebels and their families out of the Dumair town, northeast of Damascus, on April 19, 2018. The rebels in Dumair area will follow the lead of their comrades who evacuated Douma last week and moved to the rebel-held city of Jarablus, as part of the deal with the government. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)

DAMASCUS, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The Islam Army rebels started handing over heavy weapons to the Syrian army on Tuesday in the Dumair area in northeast of Syrian capital Damascus, the state TV reported.

The deal in Dumair will see the evacuation of 1,000 militants to Jarablus, as 500 other militants surrendered to the authorities.

The deal was reached to spare 5000,000 civilians in that area from a possible large-scale military showdown.

Those who don't want to stay under the government control will move to Jarablus, while others who want to stay in Dumair will surrender to the army to clear their records under the deal.

After the rebels' evacuating Douma, the entire Eastern Ghouta countryside in east of Damascus has returned to the government control.

However, the Islam Army and allied militants still control some pockets in the eastern part of the Qalamoun region north of Damascus. The Syrian government is working to secure a similar evacuation deal with the rebels in a bid to completely secure Damascus.

This came days after the rebels withdrew from the Douma district in east of Damascus.