First buses carrying injured Douma civilians arrive in Idlib

First buses carrying injured Douma civilians arrive in Idlib
The first convoy of critically injured civilians from Eastern Ghouta's Douma have arrived in northern Syria, amid reports rebel group Jaish al-Islam are preventing civilians from evacuating the besieged town.
2 min read
02 April, 2018
NGO workers attend to an injured man on arrival at Qalaat al-Madiq, northern Syria [Getty]
Thirty buses arrived in Hama governate in the northern Syrian countryside on Monday morning carrying hundreds of people from Eastern Ghouta, the majority of them wounded civilians as well as rebel fighters and their families.

According to al-Araby al-Jadeed, the 30 buses which arrived on Monday were transporting those in critical need of humanitarian assistance such as injured civilians, as well as some activists, journalists, civilians and rebel fighters, as part of a partial evacuation agreement reached on Sunday.

A source from the response team in Idlib told al-Araby al-Jadeed on Monday evening that buses carrying humanitarian cases and the remaining fighters belonging to rebel faction Faylaq al-Rahman had left Douma for northern Syria.

The response coordinators in northern Syria said on Sunday they had registered more than 47,000 people arriving from south Damascus and Eastern Ghouta during the month of March.

See in pictures: Residents escape Eastern Ghouta

Evacuees have been arriving at Qalaat al-Madiq, a small town in the Hama governate in northwestern Syria, and are then distributed in the towns an villages across Idlib and the countryside surrounding Aleppo, areas under the Syrian opposition control.

Syria's state media reported on Sunday that Jaish al-Islam - the rebel group in control of Douma - and last remaining faction to leave Eastern Ghouta, agreed to evacuate the enclave. The rebels, however, denied any deal had been struck.

Jaish al-Islam are currently taking part in Russian-brokered talks over the future of Eastern Ghouta.

They have stated they will refuse to fully evacuate the area, as fellow rebel groups Faylaq al-Rahman and Ahrar al-Sham have done in the past few weeks.

Jaish al-Islam are preventing many people from leaving Douma, where some 200,000 civilians are still trapped, for the relative safety of northern Syria.

The Syrian regime have threatened another major offensive on the town of Douma if rebels refuse to cede control of the territory.