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Syrian forces liberate southern Damascus neighborhood, state media reports

May 22, 12:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

On Monday, Syrian government forces resumed their military operation against the Islamic State terror group in Hajar al-Aswad

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© EPA-EFE/YOUSSEF BADAWI

MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. Syria’s Internal Security Forces have entered the Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood in southern Damascus on Tuesday morning, raising the national flag to indicate the area’s liberation from militants, Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.

Photos issued by SANA show security troops raising a flag over a destroyed building. Another group of government soldiers can be seen on the building’s balcony holding another flag and a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

On Monday, Syrian government forces resumed their military operation against the Islamic State terror group (IS, outlawed in Russia) in Hajar al-Aswad. Military activities resumed at noon right after the conclusion of a temporary ceasefire declared on Sunday night to ensure the safe exit of women, children and elderly people. The Syrian army later announced taking full control of Hajar al-Aswad and the Yarmouk refugee camp and launching a mop-up operation against the remaining militant groups.

Several hours later the Syrian army command declared that Damascus and all of its suburbs had been liberated from IS members and were totally safe.

The Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood and the Yarmouk camp remained the last IS stronghold on the southern outskirts of Damascus. Syrian government forces launched an offensive on these areas on April 20, seeking to put an end to the presence of terrorist groups in southern Damascus and unblock the strategic Damascus-Amman highway.

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