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Zabadani Agreement is being implemented

BEIRUT |, with agencies - December 29, 2015, 10h46
The Battle of Zabadani, in Summer 2015.

The UN in Syria, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross carried out coordinated tasks leading to the evacuation of 338 people from Foua and Kafraya, and 125 people from Zabadani and Madaya.  They were simultaneously evacuated by land and air through Turkey and Lebanon to the agreed final destinations where those requiring longer-term medical care will receive it.

A convoy of Red Cross buses carrying the wounded from the Syrian town of Zabadani arrived yesterday at International Rafic Hariri Airport in Beirut, where they were to be transported along with their families to Hatay Airport in Turkey. The wounded and their families were to travel aboard a private Turkish "Airbus 321" plane which arrived in Beirut in the afternoon for this purpose. The transfer took place under the supervision of the United Nations and in coordination with the concerned Lebanese and Syrian authorities. It was conducted under tight security measures by the concerned security apparatuses at Beirut airport.

In the meantime, two other planes in Hatay Airport carrying a number of wounded and injured Syrians, along with their families (who arrived today in Turkey overland) will fly to Beirut, prior to be transported overland to Syria, as part of the

At 9.45 p.m, a plane carrying a number of Syrians evacuated from Fouaa and Kafraya took off from Turkey's Hatay airport towards Beirut, and a second plane took off after five minutes carrying another number of Syrians. The planes are expected to arrive in Beirut at 10.40 p.m.

This exchange was part if the "Zabadani agreement", which was reached on September 24, 2015, more than two months after the beginning og the Battle of Zabadani. The UN announced that an agreement between the warring parties had finally been reached after repeated mediation efforts. Per the agreement, the remaining entrenched rebels are to withdraw from Syrian government besieged Al Zabadani and control of the town to the Syrian government while surrendering all weapons, save for light handguns, and withdrawing to the Idlib Province.

Conversely, civilians (approximately 10,000 people) still remaining inside the rebel-besieged Shi'ite villages of Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya are to be evacuated. Control of the villages would not be surrendered to the rebels; however, as approximately 4,000 pro-government troops would remain in the villages. The plan was expected to take 6 months to be fully implemented, during which time extended ceasefires are expected to be upheld in each respective area. Evacuation of wounded from both sides was expected to begin as early as 25 September 2015. An additional stipulation denotes the release of 500 rebel captives from Syrian government-held prisons.

“The humanitarian community in Syria is keen to see the swift implementation of the next phases of the Four Towns Agreement, including humanitarian access to people in these towns,” said the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Yacoub El-Hillo.

“We stand ready to continue providing relief and livelihoods assistance to the millions of people wherever they are in Syria as they bear the brunt of this crisis.”

#Syria, #United_Nations, #Zabadani
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