DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Nearly 2,000 Syrians fled the war-ravaged Damascus district of Moadamiyeh Tuesday with the help of aid workers during a temporary cease-fire, a result of a rare agreement between government forces and rebels to avert a humanitarian crisis.
The evacuation was made possible after reports of starvation and disease in the western suburb triggered an international outcry. Moadamiyeh was also one of several areas hit by a chemical weapons attack in August that killed hundreds of people.
Desperate-looking men, women and children left the town, crossing over into no man's land. Some of the elderly and sick were carried by Red Crescent workers on stretchers. Men were lined up and searched by the Syrian military.
Akhil Iad, a government official at the scene, said the evacuated civilians were taken to temporary shelters.
He said that all together, some 5,000 people have been evacuated from Moadamiyeh over the past several months, adding that there are no more civilians in the suburb.
Around 3,000 residents of the suburb were able to flee the area late August during another cease-fire.
Syrian troops have resorted to blockades of rebel-held neighborhoods in an effort to flush out fighters, keeping food and supplies from entering.
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