Syrian rebels to leave key town in eastern Ghouta enclave

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International Desk:

Syrian rebels and their families are expected to leave a besieged town in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, in an evacuation deal that will see the town handed over to the government following years of bombardment.

Monther Fares, a spokesman for the rebel faction Ahrar al-Sham, says his group’s fighters are preparing to leave. He says fighters are waiting for buses to arrive to take them and their families to other rebel-held areas in north Syria.

The government-controlled Military Media Center says 1,500 rebels and 6,000 civilians will leave Harasta on Thursday.

The deal is modeled after others that have had rebels surrender swaths of territory around the capital and other major cities to the government. The U.N. and human rights groups have condemned such arrangements as “forced displacement.”unb

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