Thousands more evacuated from towns near Damascus

Rebels have started to evacuate three towns in the eastern Qalamoun region in the Damascus countryside, according to Syrian state media.

Several buses left the towns of Ruhaiba, Jayroud and al-Nasriya carrying hundreds of rebels and their families to opposition territory in north Syria, said Al-Ikhbariya TV.

The station said there could be 3,200 rebels leaving three towns on Saturday. It said the evacuations will continue for three days.

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Syrian government forces will take over the towns once the departures are complete.

The evacuations are the latest in a string of population transfers around the Syrian capital that have displaced more than 60,000 people as the government reconsolidates control.

- AP

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