Negotiations between the Syrian government and rebel factions within the Idlib Province have been ongoing for a long time, with a major focus on the fate of the civilian populations of a pair of Shi’ite towns, al-Foua and Kefraya, in the Idlib Province, both surrounded by Sunni Islamist rebels.
Today, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a deal was finally released on a wholesale evacuation of the two towns, in return for the Syrian government allowing rebels and their families to evacuate from a pair of towns, al-Zabadani and Madaya, along the Lebanese border.
The Syrian government has tried to broker evacuations previously primarily to get rebels out of inconvenient places, particularly focusing on the rebels in suburbs around the capital city of Damascus, or those holding a single district inside of a major city.
While the deal intends to get locals out of dangerous places, it is also controversial, with the Syrian Observatory complaining it is “demographic change on a sectarian basis.” That is true, of course, but has been true in several places throughout the war, and leaving the civilians trapped in harms way is hardly an alternative to this.
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