'The situation is tragic', Syrians leave besieged towns under evacuation deal

Afghanistan officials say the USA attack on a tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the US military has left 36 Islamic State group fighters dead.

The coordinated evacuations delivered war-weary fighters and residents from two years of siege and hunger, but moved the country closer to a division of its national population by loyalty and sect.

The evacuations form part of a deal to evacuate some 30,000 Syrians from pro-government and pro-rebel besieged areas over the next two months.

16k Number of residents of Fuaa and Kafraya expected to leave, heading to government-held Aleppo, the coastal province of Latakia or Damascus. "I feel cold as ice", said Muhammad Darwish, a resident bussed out of Madaya, besieged by pro-government forces in the mountains west of the capital. Those who opt to leave with the fighters will head to rebel-held territory in Idlib.

Residents of all four towns have been besieged by opposing forces for months, with little-to-no access to food, water and medical supplies.

At least 600,000 people are living under siege in Syria, according to the United Nations, with another four million people in so-called "hard-to-reach" areas.

The mainly Sunni rebels have charged that Assad's Alawaite minority-dominated regime is deliberately forcing civilians to leave to alter the country's sectarian map in its favour.

No civilians killed by massive bomb in Afghanistan; about 10,000 relocated in coordinated effort; USA more vicious and aggressive under president, Pyongyang says; and more headlines to start your Friday, April 14, 2017.

"Whatever comes from USA politicians, if their words are created to overthrow the DPRK system and government, we will categorically reject them", he said.

The Syrian Red Crescent humanitarian group is involved in the efforts to evacuate people out of the besieged towns.

The opposition says the deals amount to forced demographic change and deliberate displacement of Mr Assad's enemies away from the main cities of western Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

  • Leroy Wright