Mass evac­u­a­tion post­poned af­ter blast kills 120 peo­ple

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - THE WORLD

BEIRUT | The evac­u­a­tion of more than 3,000 Syr­i­ans that was sched­uled to take place Sun­day from four ar­eas as part of a pop­u­la­tion trans­fer has been post­poned, op­po­si­tion ac­tivists said, a day af­ter a blast killed more than 120 peo­ple, many of them gov­ern­ment sup­port­ers.

The rea­sons for the de­lay were not im­me­di­ately clear, but it was an­nounced as the Is­lamic State group was fir­ing shells on gov­ern­men­theld parts of the east­ern city of Deir el-Zour. Two mem­bers of a Rus­sian me­dia del­e­ga­tion were in­jured, ac­cord­ing to state-run Syr­ian news agency SANA.

Rus­sia is a main backer of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad, and Rus­sian jour­nal­ists en­joy wide ac­cess in gov­ern­ment-held parts of the coun­try.

Rus­sia’s Anna-News mil­i­tary news ser­vice, which em­ploys the jour­nal­ists, said one was wounded in the arm and the other suf­fered leg and stom­ach wounds. The news ser­vice said the two were evac­u­ated and that their con­di­tion was “sat­is­fac­tory.”

The United Na­tions is not over­see­ing the trans­fer deal, which in­volves res­i­dents of the pro-gov­ern­ment vil­lages of Foua and Kfarya and the op­po­si­tion-held towns of Ma­daya and Zabadani.

All four have been un­der siege for years, their fate linked through a se­ries of re­cip­ro­cal agree­ments that the United Na­tions says have hin­dered aid de­liv­er­ies.

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