‘Syrian Army clears all ISIL insurgents from around the Damascus

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According to Syrian state television, the Syrian army pushed ISIL militants out of a south Damascus pocket on Monday, effectively clearing all insurgents from around the capital.

Pro-Syrian government forces have been battling for weeks to recover al-Hajar al-Aswad district and the adjacent Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp since driving rebels from eastern Ghouta in April.

A state television presenter said the recovery of al-Hajar al-Aswad meant the area south of Damascus had been completely cleared of insurgents.

The jihadist group now controls only two besieged desert areas in eastern Syria, while another insurgent group that has pledged loyalty to it holds a small enclave in the southwest.

A temporary humanitarian ceasefire had been in place since Sunday night in al-Hajar al-Aswad to allow women, children and old people leave, state media said early on Monday.

Army soldiers fired into the air in celebration and held Syrian flags, against a smashed cityscape of shattered buildings and widespread destruction.

Buildings and walls were pocked-marked from bullets and shell-fire, metal satellite dishes were bent and scorched, and the dome of a mosque had a gaping hole near its base.

On Sunday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighters had begun withdrawing from the area towards ISIL territory in eastern Syria under a surrender deal, but state media said fighting continued.

The war monitor said on Monday that buses had already started leaving south Damascus for ISIL areas in eastern Syria.

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Syrian monitor says insurgents quit enclave, state media denies it

(With inputs from agencies)

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