Iraq News

Syria evacuees on move again after 48-hour delay

Hundreds of Syrian evacuees were on the move again Friday (April 21st) after being stuck for 48 hours at a transit point where a bomber killed dozens of their fellow townspeople, AFP reported.

By Friday afternoon, most of the 45 buses carrying civilians and fighters from the besieged regime-held towns of Fuaa and Kafraya had left the marshalling area in opposition-held Rashidin, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Dozens of armed opposition fighters were guarding the buses at Rashidin.

All of the 11 buses evacuating civilians and fighters from Zabadani and two other opposition-held areas around Damascus also were on the move, according to the Observatory.

The buses from Fuaa and Kafraya entered Aleppo, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The buses from Zabadani and surrounding areas headed for opposition-held Idlib province.

A total of 3,000 evacuees left their homes in Fuaa and Kafraya at dawn on Wednesday as part of a deal under which residents and fighters are also being evacuated from the opposition-held areas surrounded by regime forces.

But the evacuees were forced to spend two nights in their buses at the marshalling area after a last-minute disagreement over the release of prisoners held by the regime.

"After all the buses have left, 750 prisoners will be freed. God willing, this question will be resolved," Abu Obeida, an opposition official overseeing the operation, told AFP in Rashidin.

The evacuations began last week but were delayed after Saturday's suicide car bombing killed 150 people, 72 of them children, at the transit point in Rashidin.

The toll in the bombing had previously been given as 126, but the Observatory released a new toll on Friday, saying several dozen more wounded in the attack had since died of their wounds.

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