Rebels leave last opposition district in Syria's Homs


A group of 450 people, including 193 militants has left the El Waer district of the Syrian city of Homs as part of the final stage of the withdrawal under the deal with the Syrian government, a Sputnik correspondent reported Saturday.

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

Soldiers and vehicles from Syrian regime ally Russian Federation were seen on the outskirts of Waer. By the time it is completed, as many as 20,000 people will have left the area.

Evacuees have mostly headed for insurgent-held Idlib province, or for Jarablus, a town along Syria's northern border near Turkey.

Barazi said some 1,150 militants have chose to stay in the district and hand over their weapons under an amnesty by the Syrian government. Among them were some 3,700 rebels, allowed to leave with their light weapons.

Buses arrived to ship away the last rebel fighters and civilians in al-Waer, which has been described as the "heart of the Syrian revolution" standing strong through six years of bombardment and siege by surrounding regime forces.

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A Russian officer told local Syrian media outlets that Syrian government forces backed by Russian military police had begun to take control of key parts of the district.

A rebel woman fighter fixes her head scarf as she carries her weapon before boarding a bus, as rebel fighters and their families evacuate the besieged Al-Waer district, after an agreement was reached between rebels and Syria›s army, in Homs, Syria, on Saturday.

"Russia has a guarantor role in this agreement".

Homs, Syria's third-largest city before the conflict, was an early center of the popular uprising against Assad in 2011 that turned into a civil war which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than 11 million.

Islamic State holds swathes of territory in the east of Syria, and is being fought by separate forces, including US -backed fighters and Russian-backed Syrian troops.