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

More from World

NYC mayor: residents shouldn't have to pay for Trump's security

Residents of New York City shouldn't have to foot the bill for added security around the residence of president-...

Four die of the plague in Madagascar

Four people have died from the plague in Madagascar, the Health Ministry announced Wednesday.

Top NATO officer: 150 Turkish officers recalled, retired after coup

About 150 Turkish officers, some responsible for training others, were recalled or retired from NATO high command in...

Erdogan says era of trade in local currencies set to begin

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed up his ambitions for the lira Wednesday, saying the era of local...

West demands a ceasefire in Aleppo as Russia seeks rebel surrender

Six Western powers demanded Wednesday an "immediate ceasefire" to bring aid into rebel-held Aleppo, warning "a...