Buses carrying opposition fighters, their relatives, and other civilians began arriving at a transit point in northwestern Syria around dawn on Wednesday, after travelling all night from Ghouta.

Syrian civilians and rebels evacuated from the eastern Ghouta region arrive in Qalaat al Madiq, some 45 kilometres northwest of the central city of Hama, on March 28, 2018.
Syrian civilians and rebels evacuated from the eastern Ghouta region arrive in Qalaat al Madiq, some 45 kilometres northwest of the central city of Hama, on March 28, 2018. (AA)

More convoys carrying civilians, anti-regime rebels and their families from the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta arrived in Syria’s central-west Hama province on Wednesday.

According to Anadolu Agency correspondents based in the area, 57 buses and four other vehicles for transporting the infirm reached Hama with 3,241 passengers aboard.

Later the same day, a seventh convoy of 55 buses also arrived in Hama carrying 3,014 civilians, including a number of injured people.

Evacuees will be accommodated at temporary refugee centres and in local schools and mosques in Syria’s northwestern Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

Last week, the first two convoys evacuated people from eastern Ghouta’s town of Harasta. These were followed by additional evacuations from the towns of Arbin, Zamalka and Ain Tarma.

Russia-brokered agreements

The evacuations come as part of agreements brokered by regime ally Russia between Damascus and its allies in the war, now in its eighth year, and rebels and opposition groups.

The UN says some 80,000 people have fled eastern Ghouta, since the regime and its allies recently intensified their assault on the former rebel enclave on the edge of the Syrian capital.

On February 24, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401, which called for a ceasefire in Syria – especially in eastern Ghouta – to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Despite the ceasefire resolution, however, the regime and its allies early this month launched a major ground offensive – backed by Russian air power – aimed at capturing rebel-held parts of the district.

Since February 19, at least 1,433 people have reportedly been killed in attacks by the regime and its allies in eastern Ghouta, according to local civil defence sources.

Home to some 400,000 residents, rebel-held areas in the region endured a crippling regime siege for five years before their capitulation in face of the latest onslaught.

Source: AA