Students released from besieged Syrian town to take exams

Activists say the Syrian government has allowed 68 students to leave a besieged town near Damascus to take their year-end exams.

Abdelwahab Ahmad, a media activist inside Madaya, says all ninth-graders requiring to take their year-end examinations were allowed to leave Saturday to sit the exams in nearby Rawda.

Government forces and allied militias have allowed relief groups only limited access to rebel-held Madaya since laying siege to it in July last year. Activists have recorded several deaths from starvation.

Ahmad says it is the first time the ninth-graders have been allowed to leave the town in 302 days.

The Britain-based activist monitoring group The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the deal resulted from negotiations between the government and Madaya's local council.