Aid pours into southern Damascus pocket after rebel commanders agree to evacuate

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DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:00 P.M.) – On Sunday afternoon, a convoy of 27 Red Crescent lorries carrying aid, medicine and food entered rebel-held neighbourhoods in southern Damascus after being given the green light to bypass Syrian Arab Army (SAA) checkpoints in the capital.

The humanitarian aid poured into the rebel-held Babila, Yalda and Beit Saham suburbs while goods were dispersed equally among the needy and poor families living under opposition rule.

After being withheld for several weeks, the aid convoy finally entered after a SAA delegation reached a verbal agreement with local rebel commanders to have insurgents evacuated to Idlib and the urban area restored under government control for the first time since the late 2012.

No formal date has been established for the evacuation yet. Rumours have persisted about a looming evacuation deal for months although they are yet to come to a decisive fruition. The deal is complicated by ISIS militants controlling an isolated neighbouring district, the predominately Palestinian Yarmouk Camp.

Due to a series of successful SAA military campaigns, only two pockets are left in the Syrian capital. Two weeks ago, another aid convoy was also allowed to enter the second opposition enclave which is based around the East Ghouta farmland.

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