At least 300 civilians were evacuated from a rebel-held area near the Syrian capital Damascus on Friday under a deal with the government, state media and a monitoring group reported.

Dozens of people had been transferred from the area of Moadamiyeh al-Sham on the outskirts of Damascus to a temporary sheltering centre in Harjala south of Damascus, Syria's official news agency SANA reported.

They were originally from the Damascus suburb of Daraya who left it last week under an "amnesty decree," according to the report. 

The 303 evacuees included 162 children, Syrian state television reported. 

Both Daraya and Moadamiyeh al-Sham have been besieged by government forces for years after they fell to rebels.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said that the evacuation of at least 300 civilians, mostly children and women, from Moadamiyeh al-Sham was overseen by the Syrian Red Crescent.

Pro-Syrian Lebanese television al-Mayadeen showed live footage of civilians lining up and registering their names before they boarded buses to leave from Moadamiyeh al-Sham.

The move comes a week after civilians were evacuated from Daraya to temporary accommodation centres on the outskirts of Damascus.

Opposition fighters and their families were also transferred from Daraya to the rebel-held province of Idlib in north-western Syria.

Head of the Daraya municipality, Marwan Obeid, told dpa that 220 rebel fighters had refused to go to sheltering facilities in government-held areas. 

"They will leave for Idlib," Obeid said.

The fighters' departure has been delayed due to fighting between government forces and rebels in the central province of Hama, which is a conduit to rebel-held Idlib, Obeid added.

Around 500 more civilians will be evacuated from Moadamiyeh al-Sham in the "coming two days" to sheltering facilities in Harjale, Marwan said. 

Another deal is being negotiated with the government to give amnesty to an estimated 1,900 rebel fighters and allow them to stay in Moadamiyeh al-Sham in return for surrender of their weapons to regime forces, sources close to the talks said.

In 2013, a truce was reached between the locals of Moadamiyet al-Sham and the Syrian government, but this truce has been breached several times.

The Syrian government has now regained control or negotiated local truces in much of the Damascus hinterland that fell into rebel hands earlier in the five-year conflict.

The Syrian opposition has condemned the series of evacuation as a forced displacement. 

The opposition charges that many of the government gains around Damascus have been won by siege and starvation tactics, with rebel districts forced to surrender or sign local truces in order to gain supplies.

Some 600,000 people are currently under siege in Syria, according to UN estimates.

Most of them are in rebel-held areas besieged by government forces, though both rebels and the Islamic State extremist group are also imposing sieges on government-held areas.

The figures do not include Aleppo in northern Syria, where as many as 2 million people are at risk of siege after government and rebel forces cut through each other's supply lines around the divided city in recent weeks.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.