Syrian rebels and their families have begun leaving a key town in the besieged Eastern Ghouta area as part of an evacuation deal with the government.
State media said 72 rebels and 452 civilians had departed Harasta so far. Some 1,500 fighters from the Ahrar al-Sham faction and 6,000 civilians are to be transported from Harasta to the northern rebel-held province of Idlib.
The evacuation deal is the first agreed since pro-government forces stepped up an assault on the enclave a month ago.
The implementation of the deal, which was brokered by Syrian government’s ally Russia, began yesterday with a prisoner exchange.
A monitoring group said air and artillery strikes have killed 1,500 civilians, while at least 50,000 others have fled the siege on foot in recent days.