Four years following its liberation, the predominantly agricultural town of Daraya, strategically located near the capital, has fallen to the regime. A deal was reached to evacuate the 4,000-8,000 civilians remaining from a pre-uprising population of 300,000. The local fighters who defended their town so courageously will go to Idlib and join the resistance there.
Daraya’s residents know that they may never return to their homes. Photos circulated on social media showed residents gathered at the graves of loved ones to say goodbye. Fears abound of a plan to cleanse opposition strongholds permanently, and in previous evacuation deals, even those carried out under UN auspices, many were detained by the regime, never to be seen again.
But the residents are desperate. A few days ago a group of women from Daraya sent a letter to the world. They described horrific conditions. A regime-imposed siege, ongoing for 1,368 days, had blocked the entry of food and medical supplies. People were starving.