Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) volunteers in regime-held Maardis village in Hama province prepared on Sunday to receive civilian evacuees from the Shiite-majority Idlib towns of al-Fuaa and Kafariya in coming days as part of a ceasefire deal brokered between rebel and regime forces and their allies that also includes the Outer Damascus town of Zabadani near the Lebanese border.
“Ten thousand people are expected to arrive,” at the temporary shelter, the SARC branch in Hama posted to its official Facebook page late Sunday.
Over three days of preparations, SARC workers in the western province outfitted a local school with sleeping quarters and a field kitchen in addition to medical facilities, convalescence rooms and medical personnel to meet arrivals’ needs, pro-regime Syria Scope reported.
“The center is prepared to receive 1200 people” at a time, Deeb Sarhan, a journalist in Maardis and one of the effort’s coordinators told Syria Direct on Monday, adding that civilians would ultimately be relocated to regime-held areas in Latakia, Tartous, Homs and Outer Damascus.”
The six-month ceasefire deal includes the withdrawal of 500 rebel fighters from regime-encircled Zabadani, the gateway to the Qalamoun mountains on the border with Lebanon, in exchange for the evacuation of 10,000 civilians from Idlib’s al-Fuaa and Kafariya, blockaded by Victory Army rebels for the past five months.
Over that time, regime airdrops with varying degrees of success attempted to provide food and medical aid to the villages, which have repeatedly come under Victory Army fire throughout a series of failed ceasefires and accompanying offensives.
- Photo courtesy of SARC Hamah Branch.