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Russia, Turkey reach deal with rebels to evacuate Syrian towns

By Daniel Uria

July 18 (UPI) -- Buses arrived to evacuate residents from two besieged towns in Syria on Wednesday as part of a deal brokered by Russia and Turkey.

A total of 120 buses were sent to evacuate about 7,000 residents from the towns of Foua and Kefraya.

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Syrian media reported the buses will resettle the residents of the two towns to the Aleppo suburb of Jibreen.

Residents of a third town, Ishtabrak, are also being evacuated to the coastal region of Latakia.

The evacuation came after Russia and Turkey brokered a deal in which the Syrian government agreed to release about 1,500 rebel prisoners.

Rebel fighters were also evacuated from the southern region of Daraa to the rebel-held city of Idlib.

Daraa Governor Mohammed Khaled al-Hanous congratulated government forces and the residents of Busra al-Sham on what he described as a "great victory."

Last year more than a dozen people died after a car bomb detonated near a bus convoy of Syrian evacuees from the two towns.

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