Syrians evacuated from rebel enclave
Damascus and Moscow apply ‘leave or die’ strategy to besieged Syrian areas
Arbin, Syria — Weeping Syrians boarded buses to leave a ravaged pocket of Eastern Ghouta on Sunday, in a new wave of evacuations to clear another part of the former rebel bastion. Five weeks since the Syrian regime launched an all-out assault on Ghouta, it holds more than 90% of the former opposition stronghold on the edge of Damascus. To help it capture the rest, key government backer Russia has mediated talks with rebel groups to negotiate withdrawals from the three remaining pockets. One area was emptied under such a deal in recent days and evacuations began on Saturday for a second part, held by the Islamist Faylaq al-Rahman rebel faction. That agreement is expected to see 7,000 rebels and civilians bussed from the towns of Arbin and Zamalka to the rebel-dominated province of Idlib in northwestern Syria. About 980 of them left Ghouta on Saturday aboard 17 buses and several ambulances. Devastated Syrian civilians and rebel fighters dressed in black gathered in the early morning i...