A deal negotiated by Russia with opposition groups in the Syria’s Quneitra area last week allows safe passage to rebels and their families.
A first convoy of evacuees from Syria’s southwestern Quneitra province arrived in opposition-held Idlib province on Saturday, in line with an agreement between the Bashar al Assad regime and armed opposition groups.
The convoy of 40 buses carried around 500 evacuees, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter in the region.
Under the deal, more convoys are expected to follow from the southwestern province, which is located adjacent to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights region.
The agreement provides opposition fighters with a safe exit to Idlib in exchange for surrendering their heavy weapons.
A similar deal was implemented recently in Syria’s southwestern Daraa province, according to which regime forces — along with Russian military police — were allowed to deploy along the nearby border with Jordan.
Regime forces push into Quneitra
Syrian regime forces and its allies have made advances in the southwest that bring it closer to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights border, regime’s television and rebels said.
The army, backed by a Russian air campaign, has been pushing into the edges of Quneitra province following an offensive last month that routed rebels in adjoining Daraa province.
The offensive has restored Syrian regime’s control over a swathe of the southwest, strategic territory at the borders with Jordan and Israel.
The capture of a string of villages in a zone extending between the two southwestern provinces, was announced by the regime forces on Saturday.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.