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Convoys Of Evacuees From Syria Cross To Lebanon, Turkey

Activists and aid workers say buses and ambulances carrying hundreds of fighters and civilians evacuated from two besieged areas in Syria crossed into Turkey and Lebanon under a UN-sponsored deal on December 28.

They said more than 125 fighters from the besieged rebel-held town of Zabadani near the border with Lebanon were en route to Beirut airport, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

According to the observatory, the evacuees will travel from the Beirut airport to Turkey, and will then cross into rebel-held territory in Syria.

Simultaneously, around 330 civilians and injured fighters trapped in two pro-government Shi'ite villages in northwest Syria were heading to the Turkish city of Hatay to take a plane to Beirut, aid workers were quoted as saying to Reuters.

They were to fly into Lebanon and cross overland to Damascus.

Syria's regime has agreed to several cease-fire deals with rebel groups in the past but the latest evacuation plan was one of the most elaborate in the nearly five-year war.

It was the first to involve crossing through Turkey and Lebanon.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters