Hundreds of Syrian rebels began leaving the besieged Damascus district of Barzeh on Monday as part of an evacuation deal with the government, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Harvey Biggs reports.
Hundreds of Syrian rebels began leaving the besieged Damascus district of Barzeh on Monday (May 8) as part of an evacuation deal with the government, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Video posted online, said to show some of the hundreds of fighters and their families arriving in the rebel-held idlib province in the northwest after evacuting by bus. Many more people - young and old - expected to leave this week. A young unidentified boy spoke about why his family chose to flee. "They targeted us with rockets, they hit us with everything. They demeaned us, we were held without food or anything, we were starving, this is why we left," he said. Such evacuations, as well as so called "reconcilliation" deals for rebel-held areas that surrender to the government, have been promoted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a way of reducing the bloodshed. But, the United Nations has criticised both the seige tactics leading up to it and the evacuations themselves as amounting to forcible displacement. Barzeh, at the northeast edge of Damascus, has been the site of intense fighting in recent months - as the civil war shows little sign of ending.