Iran Displaces Foua, Kefraya Residents in Exchange for Nusra in Yarmouk
An agreement reached between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and between the Syrian regime, Iran and Russia on the evacuation of residents from the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya took effect on Monday.
The deal called for the evacuation of the predominantly Shi’ite residents of the two villages in return for the evacuation of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham fighters from the northern parts of the Yarmouk camp in southern Damascus. The Nusra Front is the backbone of the Hayat group.
Some 1,200 residents will be taken out of al-Foua and Kefraya and transported to Aleppo.
The Hayat fighters and their families will be taken to Idlib, Jarablus and Daraa.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the deal was struck between the armed group and Russia, but the Ibaa agency, which is affiliated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, said that the deal was negotiated directly with Iran.
Hayat official Khaled al-Homsi said: “The Iranian militias resorted to pressuring the Yarmouk residents in order to entrap them and later force them to hold negotiations to evacuate all residents and fighters from al-Foua and Kefraya.”
“After our initial adamant rejection to succumb to such pressure and with the continuation of the fierce assault against the camp, we reached a conditional agreement with the Iranian enemy,” he added.
Some 1,000 people, including fighters, will be evacuated from al-Foua and Kefraya, said Homsi, in return for evacuating all the besieged people in the Yarmouk camp.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham will also release some 40 people it had imprisoned from the Eshtabraq village. Three years ago, the group had jailed 85 people from the village, located in the Idlib countryside.