Middle East

Thousands of evacuated Syrians stuck as transfer stalls

  • This frame grab from video provided by the government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media  shows Syrian families gathering to leave in buses from Madaya, an opposition-held town near Damascus, Syria, Friday, April 14, 2017. The Syrian government and rebels began a coordinated population transfer Friday of about 10,000 people from four towns besieged for years amid the country's bloody, six-year civil war. (Syrian Central Military Media, via AP)

    This frame grab from video provided by the government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media shows Syrian families gathering to leave in buses from Madaya, an opposition-held town near Damascus, Syria, Friday, April 14, 2017. The Syrian government and rebels began a coordinated population transfer Friday of about 10,000 people from four towns besieged for years amid the country's bloody, six-year civil war. (Syrian Central Military Media, via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This frame grab from video provided by the Thiqa News Agency, shows rebel gunmen at the site of a blast that damaged several buses and vans at the Rashideen area, a rebel-controlled district outside Aleppo city, Syria, Saturday, April. 15, 2017. Syrian TV said at least 39 people were killed Saturday in an explosion that hit near buses carrying evacuees from two towns besieged by rebels nearby. (Thiqa News via AP)

    This frame grab from video provided by the Thiqa News Agency, shows rebel gunmen at the site of a blast that damaged several buses and vans at the Rashideen area, a rebel-controlled district outside Aleppo city, Syria, Saturday, April. 15, 2017. Syrian TV said at least 39 people were killed Saturday in an explosion that hit near buses carrying evacuees from two towns besieged by rebels nearby. (Thiqa News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This frame grab from video provided by the Thiqa News Agency, shows rebel gunmen at the site of a blast that damaged several buses and vans at the Rashideen area, a rebel-controlled district outside Aleppo city, Syria, Saturday, April. 15, 2017. Syrian TV said at least 39 people were killed Saturday in an explosion that hit near buses carrying evacuees from two towns besieged by rebels nearby. (Thiqa News via AP)

    This frame grab from video provided by the Thiqa News Agency, shows rebel gunmen at the site of a blast that damaged several buses and vans at the Rashideen area, a rebel-controlled district outside Aleppo city, Syria, Saturday, April. 15, 2017. Syrian TV said at least 39 people were killed Saturday in an explosion that hit near buses carrying evacuees from two towns besieged by rebels nearby. (Thiqa News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Activists and residents say thousands of Syrians evacuated from their besieged towns have spent the night on buses at an exchange point as a much criticized population transfer deal stalls.

Ahmed Afandar, a resident evacuated from his hometown near Madaya, says dozens of buses carrying children, women and men are not allowed to proceed toward rebel-held Idlib as planned. He said it is not clear what hinders the completion of the evacuation.

Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says the Syrian government and rebels who negotiated the deal have differed over the evacuation of gunmen from the towns.

A resident of Zabadani, another rebel-held town to be evacuated, Amer Burhan says no evacuation has taken place from there.