8 kidnapped people freed from rebels' captivity in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

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A Syrian officer in the Panorama area told Xinhua that more abductees are expected to be freed soon.

DAMASCUS, March 24 (Xinhua) -- A total of eight people who were kidnapped by the rebels in the capital Damascus' Eastern Ghouta were set free on Saturday under a fresh agreement with the government, according to Xinhua reporter at the site.

The agreement, which was mediated by the Russians, will also see the release of kidnapped people by the rebels ahead of their evacuation and lists of names were handed over to the Russian side, the report said.

A day earlier, an agreement was reached for the evacuation of rebels and their families from new areas in Eastern Ghouta countryside.

They are the first batch of people to be released from rebels' captivity under a deal reached a day earlier between the Syrian government and the rebels of Failaq al-Rahman in Eastern Ghouta.

The evacuation was initially planned to take place at 9:400 a.m. (07400 GMT) Saturday after the rebels hand over maps of the tunnels they dug and mines they planted in the aforementioned areas, but the process took longer than expected.

The the abductees were brought to the government-controlled area in the Panorama area on the outskirts of the town of Arbeen in Eastern Ghouta in ambulances.

As many as 7,000 rebels and their family members will leave areas of Jobar, Zamalka, Arbeen, and Ayn Tarma in Eastern Ghouta, and the deal covers the main rebel groups in control of those areas, namely the Failaq al-Rahman, and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

Civilians and soldiers, kidnapped by rebels, arrive to a government-held area at the entrance of Harasta in Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus, on March 24, 2018. (AFP photo)

Earlier on Saturday, a total of 15 buses started entering the Arbeen town to transfer the first batch of rebels.