SYRIAN troops and civilians will leave their last bastion in Idlib while insurgents surrender two strongholds in the west, it was reported yesterday.
The deal will see soldiers and civilians evacuated from Foua and Kafarya on the outskirts of Idlib city.
The predominantly Shi’ite Muslim residents have held out against two years of rocket and sniper attacks from al-Qaida-affiliated Wahhabi factions that seized the province in early 2015.
In return militants and their families will evacuate Madaya and Al-Zabadani in Damascus, near the Lebanese border, where the UN and Doctors Without Borders claimed in 2015 residents were starving.
The Coventry-based anti-government Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed the deal was struck between Syria’s ally Iran and key extremist backer Qatar.
Earlier deals between Iran and Turkey promised aid deliveries to the four towns.
Syria has struck a series of local reconciliation deals that see gunmen and their families either evacuate to Idlib or take the government’s amnesty offer — which UN peace envoy Staffan de Mistura has opposed.
Russian military police assisted the latest round of militant evacuations from the al-Waer suburb of Homs city yesterday — as sectarians detonated a bomb in a mainly Shi’ite al-Zahra district, killing five and injuring six.
North of Homs in Hama province the government regained ground against Hayat Tahrir as-Sham (Hetesh) fundamentalists who launched a major offensive this month.
The government claimed the previous six days of fighting and air strikes had taken a toll of 2,200 terrorists killed.