Syria rebels leave last Homs neighbourhood

About 3,000 people, including 700 rebels, are being taken out of Waer district, according to provincial governor.

    The last Syrian rebels and their families are being taken out from the last opposition-held neighbourhood of the central city of Homs, according to the provincial governor.

    Talal Barazi told AFP news agency on Saturday that 3,000 people, including 700 rebels, were due to leave Waer district by the end of the day or dawn on Sunday.

    "The last evacuation of rebels, their families and civilians who wish to leave Homs, is under way. It is the last group," Barazi said.

    The Russian-supervised operation began two months ago and has been carried out over several weeks.

    Under the deal, opposition fighters are granted safe passage by the government out of Homs to rebel-held areas elsewhere in Syria.

    READ MORE: Syria's civil war explained from the beginning

    "In all more than 15,000 people - 12,000 civilians and 3,000 rebels - will have left Waer" when the operation is over, Barazi said.

    Dozens of people were carrying belongings including rugs, mattresses and bird cages as they prepared to board buses, AFP reported.

    Soldiers and vehicles from Syrian regime ally Russia were seen on the outskirts of Waer.

    Under the deal, between 600 and 100 Russian soldiers will deploy in Waer to provide security for residents who still live there or for those who were displaced by fighting and wish to return home.

    The evacuation of Waer will bring Syria's government closer to cementing its control over more parts of the war-wracked country.

    Earlier this month, rebels also began evacuating the last districts under their control in the capital Damascus, following their defeat in second city Aleppo in December.

    SOURCE: AFP news agency


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