Syrian government forces inspect a destroyed tunnel in Damascus' north eastern al-Qaboun suburb on May 14, 2017. AFP / STRINGER
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Syria's regime is close to cementing its control over the entire capital under local deals with rebels after a 6-year-old war that has ravaged suburbs of Damascus and caused population displacements. Rebels have evacuated some of the last Damascus districts under their control, shattering their dream of one day seizing the capital and toppling a 5-decade-old regime.For President Bashar Assad, regaining control of the capital was vital to retain power after anti-government protests that began in 2011 before spiraling into civil war.His fortunes have sharply reversed since July 2012, when thousands of rebels seized several of the capital's neighborhoods before a two-week counteroffensive by elite regime troops repelled them."The regime now plans to swallow up Jobar in the next phase before setting its sights on eastern Ghouta," Alloush said.He said the evacuations were a "betrayal" after backers of the regime and rebels signed a deal in the Kazakh capital earlier this month aimed at paving the way toward a lasting cease-fire in Syria.
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