- The deal provides for the total evacuation of residents in the two towns, which are besieged by the rebels
- Airstrikes killed 14 civilians in Ain Al-Tina village on Quneitra’s border with Daraa
BEIRUT: Thousands of people will be evacuated from two besieged pro-regime towns in Syria in exchange for the release of prisoners held in regime’s jails, a monitor said on Tuesday.
Under a deal brokered by regime ally Russia and Turkey, Fuaa and Kafraya, the last besieged towns in the country, will be fully evacuated after three years of encirclement, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“The deal provides for the total evacuation of residents in the two towns, which are besieged by the rebels and Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, to regime territory in nearby Aleppo province,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
“In exchange, hundreds of detainees will be released from regime prisons,” Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Syrian state media reported on Tuesday on preliminary information on a deal to free “thousands” of people in Fuaa and Kafraya.
Fuaa and Kafraya, the only two places in Syria currently designated as besieged by the UN, are home to an estimated 8,100 people, most of them Shiite Muslims.
15 civilians killed
Airstrikes on Tuesday killed more than a dozen civilians in parts of Syria’s south near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a war monitor said.
The regime has been pounding the southwestern province of Quneitra since Sunday in a bid to retake it from the opposition, after winning back most of the neighboring governorate of Daraa in less than a month.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said airstrikes killed 14 civilians in Ain Al-Tina village on Quneitra’s border with Daraa which had reportedly been taking shelter in a large building.
“They were all displaced from other areas. They included five children and three women,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Two bodies were so charred they were unrecognizable. It was not immediately clear whether the strikes were carried out by the regime or its Russian ally, the Britain-based monitor said.