Population transfer stalls over prisoner exchange

The medical centre in Abdin village Idlib Syria is out of action observers say

The medical centre in Abdin village Idlib Syria is out of action observers say

The towns of Zabadani and Madaya, which had always been under siege by pro-government forces near Damascus, came under state rule this week after Sunni rebels and civilians were evacuated.

Madaya and Zabadani, once summer resorts to Damascus, have been shattered under a crippling government siege.

In the past year alone, thousands of rebels, their families and supporters were forced to surrender in capitulation deals under intense government bombings and tight sieges in a number of towns and areas around the capital Damascus, as well as in Aleppo and Homs. Residents were reduced to hunting rodents and eating the leaves off trees.

In northern Syria, Foua and Kfraya, besieged by the rebels, lived under a steady hail of rockets and mortars.

The population transfer faced a number of snags, including a deadly explosion Saturday.

During evacuations on Saturday, a bomb blast hit a packed convoy carrying evacuees from al-Foua and Kefraya, killing at least 126 people, including more than 60 children, who were waiting on Aleppo's outskirts.

In Jibreen, a temporary shelter was set up by the government for them. Insurgents and their families from al-Zabadani and Madaya near Damascu crossed to rebel-held territory, having first gone to Aleppo.

Relatives rushed to the buses to receive their loved ones, who had been stranded at an exchange point since Wednesday. Most of those have been transferred to rebel-held Idlib.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bloody explosion.

Those discussions also involved the freeing of 26 Qatari hostages held by unidentified gunmen in Iraq, he said.

This frame grab from video provided by the government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media, shows buses carrying opposition fighters leaving Zabadani, near Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, April. A military media unit, run by Damascus ally Hezbollah and the UK-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also reported that evacuations had resumed and a convoy of 11 buses left army-besieged Zabadani. Logo in Arabic reads, "Millitary Media".

This frame grab from video provided by the government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media, shows buses carrying opposition fighters leaving Zabadani through a checkpoint, near Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, April.

Altre Notizie