BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian state media say hundreds of rebels fighters in a town northeast of Damascus have handed in their weapons and started to leave under an evacuation deal.
Under the agreement, the rebels are allowed to move with their families to opposition-held areas in the country's north, effectively surrendering their turf to Syrian government forces.
The state SANA news agency says the Army of Islam fighters and their families are leaving the town of Dumayr on Thursday. The report says 1,500 rebels and 3,500 of their next of kin are to leave Dumayr for the town of Jarablus, near the Turkish border.
Dumayr is in the Qalamoun mountains, near the eastern Ghouta region which came under full government control last week after a weeks-long offensive and an alleged chemical weapons attack.