Syrian civilians stranded in Aleppo towns as evacuation deal halts

A rebel fighter stands near buses carrying people evacuated from the two villages of Kefraya and al-Foua [Ammar Abdullah/Reuters]
Thousands of Syrians were stuck in and around Aleppo on Saturday as a deal to evacuate people from two Shi’ite villages in return for Sunni rebels and their families leaving two besieged towns near Damascus halted, a war monitor and activists said, Reuters reported.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the delay was because rebels from Zabadani, one of the towns included in the deal, had not yet been granted safe passage out, Reuters added.

The agreement is one of several concluded in recent months that has seen President Bashar al-Assad’s government take back control of areas long besieged by his forces and their allies, Reuters said.

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