Rebels, civilians to evacuate long-besieged Damascus suburb


DARAYA, Syria (AP) — Buses, ambulances and trucks have lined up at the entrance of a blockaded Damascus suburb to evacuate rebels and civilians under a deal struck between the Syrian rebels and the government.

The surrender of the Daraya suburb marks a success for President Bashar Assad’s government, removing a threat only a few miles from his seat of power.

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Daraya’s rebels agreed to evacuate in a deal late Thursday, after four years of grueling bombardment and a crippling siege that have left the sprawling suburb in ruins.

The evacuations are to begin later Friday.

The government is to allow 700 gunmen safe passage out of Daraya and let them head to the opposition-held northern province of Idlib. Around 4,000 civilians will be taken to shelters in and around Damascus.