DAMASCUS, March 29 (Xinhua) -- A deal for the evacuation of people from four besieged Syrian towns is currently under discussion, an official with the Syrian Reconciliation Ministry told Xinhua on Wednesday.
The deal could see the evacuation of rebels and their families from the besieged towns of Madaya and Zabadani, which are under the rebel control northwest of capital Damascus, as well as the two Shiite towns of Kafraya and Foa, both pro-government towns besieged by the rebels in the northwestern province of Idlib.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said that the deal was actually reached on Tuesday evening, noting that the deal was reached under an initiative from Iran, the main regional backer of the Syrian government, and Qatar, a main ally of the rebel groups.
Madaya and Zabdani are two towns under the rebel groups' control near the Lebanese borders. The government besieged the towns two years ago, allowing few aid convoys to enter under the supervision of humanitarian organizations in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).
In the north, Kafraya and Foa are two Shiite towns besieged by the rebels in Idlib, which has largely fallen to the rebel control, mainly the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
According to the deal, whose features are still unclear entirely, mass evacuation of people will happen from the four towns.
The Observatory said that a state of growing dismay prevails Madaya, due to the "demographic change" attempt.
The deal, according to the Observatory, includes completely emptying Kafraya and Foa from its people on two batches in a duration set for 60 days, in exchange of evacuating the Zabadani and Madaya as well as other nearby rebel-held areas toward northern Syria.
The nine-month truce will start at Wednesday night in the aforementioned areas, said the Observatory, adding that evacuation process will not start before April 4.
The deal also includes granting humanitarian access to those areas, as well as the release of 1,500 prisoners from government jails.
The rebels will also be releasing detainees to the government side.
As the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front has fighters in the agreed-upon rebel areas, its fighters will also be granted an evacuation from the Yarmouk Camp south of Damascus, according to the Observatory.
Several previous deals saw the evacuation of people from Kafraya and Foa, as well as Zabadani and Madaya, but the current deal seems a comprehensive one that will see a large-scale evacuations from all the peoples in the four towns.
The UN has repeatedly warned for the dire situation in those towns, and the lack of humanitarian access to around 60,000 affected people in the four towns.