Times of Oman
Apr 30, 2017 Last Updated at 17:42 AST
Syria evacuations resume, bringing town under state control
April 19, 2017 | 9:23 PM
by Reuters
 
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Beirut: The last rebels in the town of Zabadani near Damascus have either departed for insurgent-held regions or accepted government rule, pro-government media reported on Wednesday, part of a reciprocal evacuation deal for besieged areas.

Thousands of people also left the rebel-besieged villages of Al Foua and Kefraya near Idlib under the deal, which resumed days after a suicide bombing killed dozens in a convoy that was part of the same evacuation, the media said.

"The area of Zabadani is empty of militants after the last batch of them left this morning," the pro-government Sham FM radio reported, citing a senior official in Zabadani. A military media unit run by Damascus ally Hezbollah and a Britain-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also reported that evacuations had resumed.

About 45 buses carrying 3,000 people left Al Foua and Kefraya near Idlib for government-controlled Aleppo, while a convoy of 11 buses left army-besieged Al Zabadani, the Hezbollah media unit said.

On Saturday, a bomb attack on a convoy of evacuees from Al Foua and Kefraya killed 126 people, including more than 60 children, the war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported. Under the deal, civilians and pro-government fighters from the minority community villages were travelling by bus to government-controlled Aleppo, while insurgents and their families from Al Zabadani and Madaya near Damascus crossed to rebel-held territory, having first gone to Aleppo.

Three buses on Wednesday also carried wounded people from Saturday's convoy attack, as well as the remains of those who had died, the Hezbollah military media unit reported.


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