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Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
World | By Ernestine Jimenez

Syrian Rebels Leave Last Remaining Stronghold In Homs

Syrian Rebels Leave Last Remaining Stronghold In Homs

18 de marzo de 2017, 09:10Damascus, Mar 18 (Prensa Latina) The first group of armed extremists and their families started their evacuation from the neighborhood of Al Waer, the last section of the Syrian city of Homs that they occupied, authorities in that central province confirmed on Saturday.

Once completed, it would mark the biggest evacuation during the war out of one Syrian district, which is home to about 40,000 civilians and more than 2,500 fighters, the monitoring group said.

Critics and opposition have described this as forcible displacement that is part of what they call the government's "starve or surrender", where rebel-held areas are besieged and bombarded until deals like this are reached.

The new agreement aims to finalise implementation of a "reconciliation deal" that has already seen several phases of rebel evacuation from Waer district, but which had stalled in recent months.

Completion of the Waer agreement will bring Homs city -once known as the "capital of the revolution" - under the full control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"These lies are a desperate attempt aimed at sabotaging the reconciliation agreement of al-Waer neighborhood in particular and the process of successive reconciliations in general", said al-Barazi.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the buses would go to the Jarablus area in the north, held by Turkey-backed rebels. But the opposition decries them as a tactic of forcibly displacing people who oppose Assad after years of bombardment and siege.

On Friday, the Russian Reconciliation Center said negotiations between the Syrian military and rebel commanders are underway in Homs, Damascus, and Hama, as well as other locations.

Russian troops and vehicles could be seen on Saturday morning just outside the Waer district as the first buses began to pull out, AFP's correspondent said.

Dozens of buses stood at a crossing waiting to leave Al-Waer, accompanied by SARC ambulances, a Reuters witness said.

In the coming weeks, evacuees could be shuttled to other rebel-held areas in northern Syria, including the insurgent stronghold of Idlib province, state TV said. Russian Federation is an ally of Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime.

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