Deal reached for besieged areas in Syria

Deal reached for besieged areas in Syria
Evacuation of two rebel-held and two regime-held areas expected to begin next week after a deal was reportedly brokered by Qatar and Iran.
2 min read
29 March, 2017
The ICRC has warned of the 'extremely dire' situation in Syria's besieged areas [AFP]

Four besieged areas in Syria will be evacuated after a new deal was brokered by Qatar and Iran, monitoring groups have claimed.

There has been no official confirmation of the Qatari and Iranian roles in the deal yet.

The deal affects around 60,000 people currently living in those areas.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, residents of the government-held villages of al-Fuaa and Kefraya in the north-west will be bussed out once the agreement comes into force.

Their evacuation will be in return for the safe passage of people in rebel-held Madaya and Zabadani near Damascus.

A truce was reportedly set to come into effect on Tuesday evening, ahead of the evacuations which will start in a week.

Despite several truces over the past twelve months, the city of Zabadani and neighbouring areas of the Rif Dimashq region have come under assault by the Syrian-regime and its allies for their strategic value in straddling the Lebanon-Syria border.

In Madaya, the Syrian regime's siege has caused many dozens to die from starvation, with aid agencies reporting last year that children living in the town were attempting suicide due to intense hardship.

The International Committee of the Red Cross warned in January that the situation in Syria's besieged areas was "extremely dire".