Syrian army soldiers ride on a motorbike at a damaged site in al-Hajar al-Aswad, Syria May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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The Syrian army has restored control over all areas surrounding Damascus for the first time since early in the 7-year-old war, after pushing Daesh (ISIS) militants out of a south Damascus pocket, the military said.Daesh, which was driven from most of the Euphrates River valley last year, now controls only two besieged desert areas in eastern Syria.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday fighters had begun withdrawing from the area toward Daesh territory in eastern Syria under a surrender deal, but state media said that fighting continued.The Observatory said Monday buses had already started leaving south Damascus for Daesh areas in eastern Syria.Monday, Tehran appeared to reject that idea, saying its forces will remain in Syria and continue fighting "terrorism" at the request of the Syrian government.
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