On March 21, the Hezbollah media wing reported that the Syrian government and the Ahrar al-Sham Movement had reached an agreement in order to evacuate Ahrar al-Sham fighters from the Harasta district in the Damascus subrub of Eastern Ghouta to the northern governorate of Idlib.
Over the past week, several Syrian pro-government and opposition sources reported that the Damascus government and the Ahrar al-Sham Movement had been negotiating with help from Russia. Turkey supported the negotiations and pressured Ahrar al-Sham to accept the evacuation agreement, according to the sources.
Over 1,500 Ahrar al-Sham fighters along with 6,000 civilians are set to leave the Harasta district on March 22, according to the Hezbollah media wing.
A source in the SAA’s 4th Armoured Division confirmed to SouthFornt that the Ahrar al-Sham Movement had started burning its headquarters and ammo depots in Harasta in a clear sign of its commitment to the agreement. Several previous agreements to evacuate Ahrar al-Sham fighters from Harasta have failed, according to the source.
The Ahrar al-Sham Movement was behind the attack on the SAA’s Armoured Vehicles Base, which started on November 14, 2017. According to local observers, this offensive triggered the ongoing large military operation by the SAA and its allies in the Eastern Ghouta region.