Aid workers have begun evacuating emergency medical cases from Syria's besieged rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta, the Red Cross said on Wednesday, after months of waiting during which the United Nations said at least 16 people died.
Families waited in the darkness in the rebel-held town of Douma for their loved ones to board ambulances bound for hospitals in the capital Damascus.
Under a deal with the government, five workmen detained by the rebels during fierce clashes with the army in March were released in exchange.
Three children were among the first four patients to leave, Red Crescent official Ahmed al-Saour told AFP.
He said in total 29 seriously ill people were due to be evacuated.
The first four were a girl with haemophilia, a baby with the autoimmune disorder Guillain-Barre, a child with leukaemia, and a man in need of a kidney transplant, he said.
Eight-year-old Ingy, the girl with haemophilia, gave a broad smile as she boarded an ambulance, wearing a woolly hat and gloves against the cold.