geneva - The evacuation of the sick and wounded from the besieged Syrian East Ghouta started Wednesday morning, the Red Cross announced.
Turkey wants to evacuate around 500 people together with Russia from the area near the capital Damascus. The first patients were transported to hospitals in Damascus.
East Ghouta is in the hands of Syrian rebels. Around 400,000 people reside in the area, who have been almost completely deprived of humanitarian aid since 2013.
In November, the UN humanitarian adviser called the situation in East Ghouta a 'humanitarian emergency'. The Syrian army is engaged in an offensive to drive out rebels.