Rebels warned to leave Syrian enclave

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Islamic state militants have had 48 hours to accept withdrawal from an enclave as they control south of Damascus, the pro-Syrian government newspaper al-Watan reports.

"If they refuse, the army and support forces are ready to launch a military operation to end the presence of the organization in the area," said Thursday.

The jihadist-controlled enclave is centered around the Palestinian Yarmouk camp and the Al-Hajar Al-Aswad area south of Damascus. The area is much smaller than the Eastern Ghouta area, where the Syrian government recently defeated rebels.

A commander in the regional military alliance supporting the Syrian government said that the Syrian army had begun to protect the jihadian enclave on Tuesday in preparation for an attack.

Yarmouk, approx. 8 km from Damascus's center, was home to Syria's largest Palestinian refugee community before the Syrian war broke out in 2011. Although most residents have fled, the UN has said several thousand.

The Syrian government has restored swings of territories from insurgents by allowing them to leave other rebel parts of the country after years of siege and violent military assault supported by Russia and Iran.

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