Photo taken on May 7, 2018 shows ambulances waiting at the Rastan Bridge to evacuate wounded rebels and their families in the central province of Hama, Syria. Dozens of buses evacuated rebels and their families to rebel-held areas in northern Syria on Monday under a Russian-mediated deal. (Xinhua)
DAMASCUS, May 8 (Xinhua) -- The first batch of rebels and their families evacuated an area in central Syria on Monday night as part of a recent Russian-mediated deal, the state news agency SANA reported.
Sixty-two buses carried hundreds of rebels and their families from rebel-held areas in the northern countryside of Homs and the southern countryside of Hama. This is the first batch to leave those areas for the rebel-held city of Jarablus in northern Syria, said SANA, adding that more evacuations of rebels are expected to follow.
The evacuation deal was reached between the rebels and the government on May 1, and is identical to other agreements that have been recently reached in the capital Damascus, which saw the evacuation of rebels from the Eastern Ghouta countryside and the eastern part of the Qalamoun region to Idlib and Jarablus last month.
The Russian-backed evacuation deals are aimed at curbing battles. Meanwhile, the rebels are leaving for other strongholds in northern Syria in order to secure more vital areas in central and southern Syria.