Mass evacuation postponed after blast kills 120 people
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.