Syrian regime lets 480 students out of besieged towns, monitor says

The Syrian government have allowed around 480 school pupils to leave two besieged rebel-held towns near the capital Damascus in order to take their examinations, a monitoring group reported on Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that around 400 ninth-graders left on Sunday the besieged town of Maadamiyet al-Sham to sit year-end exams in regime-controlled areas.

Eighty more ninth-graders from the besieged town of Madaya were allowed into the nearby regime-held town of al-Rawda for the same reason, the Observatory added.

The temporary release was the result of an arrangement between the regime forces and local mediators, said the Britain-based watchdog, which relies on a network of activists inside Syria.

“Regime forces thoroughly searched students and escorted them to the examination centres,” the Observatory head Rami Abdel-Rahman said.

The students were subjected to the same measures before they were allowed back into their hometowns later on Sunday, he told dpa.

Maadamiyet al-Sham and Madaya have been for months under blockade by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Several Syrian areas have been besieged by government forces and rebels during the conflict, which started with peaceful pro-democracy protests in March 2011.

Last update: Sun, 15/05/2016 - 23:02

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