The New York Times reports: After four years of siege and bombardment, residents of the rebel-held Syrian town of Daraya struck a deal Thursday with the Syrian government that amounted to a surrender of territory deeply symbolic to both sides.
Under the agreement, the government will evacuate Daraya’s remaining residents — about 8,000 people — in exchange for control of the town, which is less than two miles from the center of the capital, Damascus.
Daraya, one of the first areas to stage peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 and to face a violent response, is a rare example of a community where even now, after more than five years of war, rebel groups accept the authority of a civilian local council.
Hussam Zyadeh, who fled Daraya in 2013, summed up the ambivalence of ending the fight amid a feeling that the world had stopped caring and had provided no help. “No more barrels on #Daraya,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to barrel bombs. “No more death no more fight no more revolution no more dignity no more #humanity as the whole world left it alone.”
Word of the agreement — a week after incendiary bombs left the town’s only remaining hospital out of commission — came as a single airstrike by the government or its Russian allies killed 14 people, 11 of them children and the others women, in the northern city of Aleppo, doctors there said. [Continue reading…]