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.


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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