World, Middle East

18th convoy from Syria's Eastern Ghouta arrives in Al-Bab

Number of evacuated from Eastern Ghouta surpasses 56,000

11.04.2018
18th convoy from Syria's Eastern Ghouta arrives in Al-Bab

By Esref Musa, Omer Koparan and Adham Kako

AL-BAB/IDLIB, Syria

The 18th convoy carrying civilians and opposition fighters from the city of Douma in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta arrived in Aleppo's Al-Bab district on Wednesday, according to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground.

The convoy of 85 buses carried 3,860 people, including 1,500 children and 1,021 women, who will be brought to Azaz district from Al-Bab and will be provided with temporary accommodation in refugee camps.

With this convoy, the number of those evacuated from Eastern Ghouta since the process began on March 22 has surpassed 56,000.

Evacuations from Douma will continue, according to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground.

Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield, launched in late 2016, liberated Al-Bab from the Daesh terrorist group. The operation, which ended in March of last year, largely succeeded in purging the Turkish-Syrian border area of the terrorist presence.

Evacuations are being carried out as part of a Russian-brokered agreement between Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime and armed opposition groups.

On Feb. 24, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401, which called for a cease-fire in Syria -- especially in eastern Ghouta -- to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Despite the resolution, however, the regime and its allies in early March launched a major ground offensive -- backed by Russian forces -- aimed at capturing opposition-held parts of the district.

Since Feb. 19, more than 1,400 people have been killed in attacks by the regime and its allies in eastern Ghouta, according to local civil-defense sources.

Home to 400,000 residents, Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling regime siege for the last five years, which has prevented the delivery of badly needed humanitarian supplies.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

According to UN officials, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict to date.

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