Equipo Nizkor
        Bookshop | Donate
Derechos | Equipo Nizkor       


Civilians, rebels start evacuating from 3 Syrian hotspots as part of truce

A total of 459 wounded civilians and rebels started evacuating three Syrian hotspots on Monday, as part of a truce concluded between the Syrian army and the rebels six months ago, a well-informed source told Xinhua.

The evacuation of 336 wounded fighters and civilians from the pro-government Shiite towns of Kafraya and Foa in northern Syria near Turkey, and 123 from the rebel-held town of Zabadani near Lebanon, started simultaneously, the source said, adding that the evacuation is being carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The buses carrying the wounded from Kafraya and Foa are heading toward Turkey, as part of the deal, while the buses carrying the rebels and their families from Zabadani are heading to Beirut, Lebanon.

"The swap will happen like this: those from Kafraya and Foa will be transported to Turkey, from which they will be placed on a flight to Beirut and returned to Damascus, while the rebels and their families from Zabadani will be bused to Beirut and transported to Turkey, where they will get medical treatment before return to rebel-held areas in northern Syria," the source said.

Meanwhile, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV said the busses of the Zabadani people arrived to the Jdaidet Yabous border crossing between Syria and Lebanon, to be transported from the Syrian Red Crescent cars to the Red Cross ones, which will take them to Lebanon's international airport of Rafiq al-Hariri to be flown later in the afternoon to Turkey.

The busses from Kafraya and Foa have also reached the Turkish border to be later transported to Beirut and Damascus.

The cross-border swap happened due to the logistical situation on ground, as several rebel groups are controlling roads between Zabadani and Kafraya and Foa, some refusing to cooperate in facilitating the passing of the busses from the aforementioned areas.

Six months ago, the rebels in control of much of the northwestern province of Idlib heavily shelled the two Shiite towns and repeatedly threatened that they would commit massacres against the Shiite people there if the government troops, backed by the Lebanese Hezbollah group, didn't halt their assault on Zabadani.

The two parties, under the mediation by Iran and Turkey, agreed to establish a six-month truce which was planned to be followed by the evacuation of the wounded as a next step.

Previously, the rebels wanted Syrian authorities to halt a broad offensive on rebel-held Zabadani and Madaya towns, while the Iranians and Syrian governments wanted jihadi groups in northwestern province of Idlib to stop their attacks on Shiite towns, which have been subject to repetitive attacks and suffocating siege.

A six-month cease-fire went into effect simultaneously last September in Kafraya and Foa and Zabadani in west of Damascus, near Lebanese borders.

The cease-fire was planned to be followed by a 25-point agreement, which is expected to start soon to settle the situation in the Shiite towns and Zabadani.

Local reports said in September that the agreement, which has been concluded between an Iranian delegation, representing Syrian government, and the Jaish al-Fateh and Ahrar al-Sham rebels, will include halting battles in other areas, such as towns adjacent to Zabadani, namely Madaya, Buqain, Surghaya and the surrounding military posts.

The agreement also includes bringing an end to confrontations and attacks in towns of Binnish, Taftanaz, Taum, Maret Misrin, and cities of Idlib, Ram Hamdan, Zardna, and Shallakh in the province of Idlib.

The agreement could see the total withdrawal of rebels and their families from Zabadani. The only destination for the rebels and their families from Zabadani is Idlib, much of which fell to Jaish al-Fateh in recent months. In return, the wounded people, women, children and men above 50 will be allowed to leave Kafraya and Foa, two of the very few government positions in Idlib.

[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 28Dec15]

Bookshop Donate Radio Nizkor

Syria War
small logoThis document has been published on 29Dec15 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.