Forced Displacement in the Capital — First Residents and Fighters Leave Qaboun

Alsouria Net reports on the recent relocation of hundreds of civilians and militants from the opposition district following similar efforts to empty neighboring areas

Civilians and opposition fighters have begun to leave the Qaboun district near the center of the capital as part of a larger project of demographic change by the Assad regime and its allies in Damascus and its environs.

Media activist Adi Awda, who was in Qaboun early on Sunday, said that names were being prepared of civilians and fighters who would be displaced to Idleb province in northern Syria, which opposition forces control almost entirely. Awda said that buses had already been prepared to transport them to their destination.

This news comes amid a siege of the district and neighboring areas (Barzeh and Tishreen) and almost daily bombardment, in addition to a massive military campaign by the regime and its allies to take control over a large portion of Qaboun.

The displacement of residents from Qaboun comes after a similar displacement from Damascus' Barzeh and Tishreen, which have been controlled by rebels since 2012. More than 1,200 people left Barzeh and Tishreen on Friday toward Idleb.

The three districts are among the first areas that rebelled against the Assad regime in 2011, drawing media attention because of the large danger they represented to the regime in the Syrian capital.

The Assad regime and its allies are leading a project of demographic change in Syria which the Syrian opposition has repeatedly warned against, concentrated primarily in the Damascus countryside, as opposition residents and fighters in Daraya, Mouadamiyah, Zabadani, Madaya, Qadissiya, Al-Hema, and the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp have been forced to leave their homes and compelled to head to northern Syria.

This change coincides with the strengthening of Iran and its Shiite militias in Damascus and its countryside, where these paramilitary groups have recently taken control of the emptied districts.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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