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Syrian Crisis: Evacuation of Last Militant-Occupied District in Homs Begins
Local Editor

Under a Russian-brokered deal, hundreds of militants and civilians began leaving the last militant-occupied district of Syria's Homs on Saturday.

Green buses

The Russian-supervised evacuation of Waer was agreed earlier this month and is expected to last several weeks.

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

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.

According to the agreement, up to 100 Russian soldiers will deploy inside the neighborhood to oversee the evacuation and ensure the safety of residents, including any who chose to stay.

The first wave of three green buses pulled out of Waer carrying dozens of militants, their rifles slung over their shoulders, and civilians including children.

According to the Syrian state television, between 400 and 500 people are expected to leave on Saturday.

Militants will be bussed to opposition-occupied parts of Homs province, the town of Jarabulus on the Syrian-Turkish border or the northwest province of Idlib.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which is based in the UK estimates that a total of 12,000 people, including 2,500 militants, will leave under the deal.

The Syrian government had agreed on reconciliation deals in several militant-occupied areas and guaranteed to grant safe passage to surrendering militants as key to ending the country's war.

Three waves of militants and their families had already quit Waer under an agreement first reached in December 2015, but the deal had stalled since then.

Completion of the Waer agreement will bring Homs city will totally cleans the city from extremist grip.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

18-03-2017 | 13:24


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