On December 27 and 28, 17 sick and injured civilians were evacuated from the Eastern Ghouta region as a part of an agreement that was reached during the Astana talks, according to Syrian sources. The sources added that another 12 sick civilians will be evacuated by the Syrian Army in the upcoming days.
As part of the agreement, Jaysh al-Islam also released 29 civilians and SAA soldiers from its infamous “al-Tuba” concentration camp in Eastern Ghouta. The released prisoners were captured by Jaysh al-Islam during its attack on Adra district east of Damascus on December 11, 2013. Over 100 civilians, mainly from religious minorities, were massacred by Jaysh al-Islam fighters during the attack.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on December 24 that Turkey and Russia are working to evacuate more than 500 injured and sick civilians from the Ghouta region. This suggests that current agreement between Jaysh al-Islam and the SAA will be expanded to include more prisoners and sick civilians in the upcoming days.
The agreement was viewed by all sides as a positive step to build trust between the Damascus government and the Syrian opposition and to ease the humanitarian suffering of the Syrian people on the both sides.