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Syria: 620 rebels made to evacuate besieged Moaddamiyeh

Moadamiyeh has been besieged by Syria's regime since 2013 [AFP]

Date of publication: 19 October, 2016

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Opposition fighters and family members flee in their hundreds as Damascus continues its 'starve or surrender' strategy against Syrian rebels.

Around 620 rebels and their families began evacuating a besieged town southwest of the Syrian capital on Wednesday under a deal with the government, a local official told AFP.

"The buses of rebels have begun moving," said Hassan Ghandour, a member of the local committee overseeing the deal in Moaddamiyeh al-Sham.

He said the buses held rebels as well as their family members and would head to Idlib province, northwest of Damascus.

Syrian government forces backed by Russian warplanes have besieged rebel-held areas of Syria as part of the regime's 'starve or surrender' tactic.

The evacuation follows a local truce which will return control over the district to the Syrian regime.

Around 3,000 local rebel fighters and residents are expected to leave their homes and head north to opposition-held Idlib province on Wednesday as part of a deal agreed between local opposition and regime officials.

The town has been the site of stoic resistance by residents since the start of the Syrian revolution.

Moaddamiyeh has been besieged by regime forces since 2013. Since then, Free Syrian Army fighters have been on the defensive and residents have endured chemical attacks, barrel bombing and starvation.

In August, similar tactics were employed to squeeze rebels in the Damascus suburb of Daraya - a place once hailed as a bastion of rebel resistance.

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