Second Stage Of Syrian Evacuations Reportedly Starts From Ghouta

Syria's state-run media is reporting that hundreds of rebel fighters and their relatives began leaving eastern Ghouta on buses late on March 24 and were heading for opposition-held areas in the north of the country under an agreement to evacuate the second of three surrounded opposition-held areas east of Damascus.

Earlier on March 24, Syria's state media reported that about 7,000 members of the rebel group and their relatives were preparing for the evacuation under a deal reached a day earlier between Faylaq al-Rahman, the second-most powerful rebel group in eastern Ghouta, and Russia's military.

Bulldozers on March 24 also removed giant sand barriers from a main road in the town of Harasta that the evacuation buses are meant to pass through on their way to northern Syria.

The government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media said the corridor was being prepared for Faylaq al-Rahman members and their relatives to leave the towns of Zamalka, Arbin, Ein Tarma, and Jobar.

The reported evacuations come after thousands left Harasta, the first opposition-held pocket of territory to be evacuated, under a similar deal for armed opposition fighters and civilians.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP