Syrian town of Zabadani reportedly fully empty: UN
Posted: 2017-Apr-21 14.00.01 UTC+0800
UNITED NATIONS — A total of 550 people from Zabadani, Madaya, Sarghaya and the surrounding area in Syria were evacuated on Wednesday to Idleb governorate, a UN spokesman said here Thursday.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here that simultaneously, 3,000 people from Foah and Kafraya were evacuated to Jibreen, outside of Aleppo city.
"With those evacuations, the town of Zabadani is reported to have been completely emptied," he said.
"People evacuated from Foah and Kefraya to the Al-Mahalej shelter in Jibreen are being provided with food, water, emergency items and health services, supplied by the UN and our partners through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent," the spokesman added.
"People displaced from Madaya and Zabadani to Idleb are being assisted by cross-border NGOs (non-governmental organizations) through two reception centres," he said.
"The UN is not a party to the negotiations, the agreement or the evacuations, but stands ready to continue to assist people in need with humanitarian assistance, wherever they are," said the spokesman.
"The United Nations emphasizes that any evacuation of civilians must be safe, voluntary, and to a place of their choosing," he said. "All those who are displaced through such local agreements have the right of return as soon as the situation allows."
Madaya and Zabadani are two Syrian towns under the rebel groups' control near the Lebanese borders. The government besieged the towns two years ago, allowing few aid convoys to enter under the supervision of humanitarian organizations in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).
In the north, Kafraya and Foah are two Shiite towns besieged by the rebels in Idlib, which has largely fallen to the rebel control, mainly the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front. (PNA)