In Syria, buses began evacuating fighters and civilians from two besieged pro-regime towns early this morning under a deal that will allow thousands to leave after three years of encirclement.
Fuaa and Kafraya are the last remaining areas under siege in Syria, where government forces have repeatedly used blockades during the last seven years of war. The Shiite-majority towns have been besieged for years by rebels and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.
A deal reached on Tuesday between regime-backer Russia and rebel-ally Turkey would see all the residents taken to government-held territory in exchange for prisoner releases from regime jails. Starting yesterday, a series of barricades on the road leading into the towns were removed to let dozens of buses in.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, all residents, about 6,900 people including fighters and civilians, are expected to be ferried out.