Victory Army negotiates with regime to receive Zabadani wounded

 Rebel doctors and medical staff prepare for the arrival of Zabadani’s wounded.

The Victory Army rebel coalition in Idlib prepared on Tuesday to receive scores of wounded fighters to be evacuated from inside the encircled city of Zabadani in the western Damascus countryside, part of a ceasefire deal brokered between rebel and regime forces that also includes the Shiite-majority Idlib towns of al-Fuaa and Kafariya, Abu a-Zaid Taftanaz, an Ahrar a-Sham spokesperson told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

“We’re preparing to receive Zabadani’s wounded as we speak–they’ll be transported north [375km] across the Hama countryside to Idlib, where we’ll get them the medical treatment they need, here or across the border in Turkey,” explained Taftanaz.

“Between 100 and 250 wounded rebel fighters are waiting to be evacuated from Zabadani,” where “a shortfall of antibiotics means even the small wounds end up extremely serious,” Ain Jabir and Abu Ali, both Zabadani-based journalists, told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

A Victory Army photo report released Wednesday shows extensive preparations to receive Zabadani’s wounded–rows of beds, an ICU unit, well-equipped medical staff and doctors in scrubs.

 A convalescence ward ready for Zabadani’s wounded.

The six-month ceasefire deal between opposition and regime forces includes the withdrawal of some 500 rebel fighters from inside Zabadani, as many as half of whom will be brought to Idlib for treatment. In exchange, regime administrators and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are expecting to receive as many as 10,000 civilian evacuees from al-Fuaa and Kafariya, blockaded by Victory Army rebels for the past five months.

- Photo courtesy of Shaam News Network.

Ammar Hamou

Ammar Hammou is from Douma city in outer Damascus. He studied journalism at Damascus University and left Syria in 2011. Follow Ammar on Twitter: @Ammar_Hamou.

Joseph Adams

Joseph was a 2013-2014 Boren Fellow in Arabic based in Amman, Jordan and is the founder of Open Syria. He holds BA and MS degrees in political science from UCLA and MIT, and is an MA degree candidate in Arabic at Middlebury College.