More than 100 buses headed early Wednesday to two towns in north-western Syria to evacuate thousands of people under a deal reached between an al-Qaeda-linked group and the Syrian government, a monitor group and a Syrian government source said.
A Syrian source close to the government said 120 buses drove through al-Abs crossing, south of the province of Aleppo, towards the towns of al-Foua and Kafarya.
Under a deal brokered by Russia, a main ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey, a backer of the Syrian opposition, on Tuesday, al-Foua and Kafarya will be fully evacuated after three years of siege by rebels.
Al-Foua and Kfarya, home to some 7,000 people, are made up of mostly Shia Muslims and some pro-government fighters. They came under rebel siege in 2015.
According to Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights, the evacuees will leave for government areas in Aleppo as a first step.
Under the deal, some 1,500 prisoners from the opposition will be released from government jails, according to sources.
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