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Elderly Pakistani Couple Evacuated From Syria’s Ghouta
An elderly Pakistani man and his wife have been evacuated from Syria's eastern Ghouta region, after Russia earlier this week announced a daily "humanitarian pause" in the fighting in the rebel-held enclave.
"A Pakistani family made up of a man and his wife have been evacuated," the Kumait agency close to the rebel faction Jaish Al-Islam (Army of Islam) wrote on Twitter on February 28.
It posted photos showing the couple holding Pakistani ID cards and sitting inside a vehicle that appeared to belong to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.
Mohammad Fadhl Akram, 73, and his 62-year-old wife, Saghran Bibi, were transferred from the eastern Ghouta town of Douma to the nearby capital, Damascus, according to AFP.
They left their two sons, three daughters, and 12 grandchildren behind, the man told the news agency.
Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported that the couple has been living in Syria for more than 40 years.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was quoted as saying they were the only known people among Ghouta's 400,000 residents to have left since a daily "humanitarian pause" called by Moscow came into effect on February 27.
The Britain-based group monitoring the seven-year civil war said the two were evacuated following months of negotiations by the Pakistani Embassy in Syria.
The United Nations says continued fighting in and around eastern Ghouta makes relief operations there impossible.
Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.