Several busloads of both fighters and their families have reached rebel control territory from the towns of Zabadani and Wadi Barada. Celebratory gunfire was everywhere as the buses passed through the rebel de-facto capital of Idlib and then Ma’r Misreen. Families were reunited and the mood was festive as residents gathered to greet the newly freed refugees.
This is part of a deal brokered and agreed to by rebels, particularly those from Hiya Tahreer Sham, Assad’s forces, Iran, and Qatar. The agreement allows fighters and residents in the besieged towns of Kafariya and Fua’ to go free thus surrendering their territory to rebel fighters. Likewise fighters and their families from Wadi Barada, Zabadani, and Madaya are exiting and surrendering their territory to regime forces.
At one point Zabadani and Madaya residents were forced to eat cats and grass to stay alive.
“Praise be to Allaah, they were able to leave the besieged territories safely. I missed my son very much. I’m very proud of him,” said Umm Samih, mother of one of the fighters from Zabadani.
The agreement was in jeopardy after 113 people were killed last Friday as a car bomb ripped through a crowded bus station in Rashideen that was an exit point for those leaving Kafirya and Fua’.