Syrian Rebels Begin to Leave Homs’ Al-Waer Toward Aleppo Countryside

Activists report that the first group of fighters and civilians departed from the opposition's last stronghold in the city of Homs Saturday as part of a Russian-backed evacuation deal with the regime

On Saturday the first batch of displaced people from Homs’ Al-Waer neighborhood began to depart toward the city of Jarablus in the northern Aleppo countryside, according to activist reports.

The first group of buses departed Saturday morning as stipulated by the agreement, taking the road to Jarablus that passes through the towns of Salamiyeh, Athriya, Khanaser, Dabiq, and Al-Bab

The Assad regime has imposed a siege on Al-Waer neighborhood for about four years amid military campaigns bombarding its areas, leading to a large number of victims.

The Syrian opposition and Assad regime reached a deal, backed by Russia, on Monday, March 13, 2017, that would see the departure of fighters and civilians from Homs, clearing the city from any opposition forces. The deal provided for the following:

1. The first batch of 1,500 people, including 400-500 fighters, would depart within seven days of the date of signing the agreement.

2. The departures would continue in groups of 1,500 over the coming weeks.

3. Syrian regime and Russian forces bear full responsibility for the safety of those who leave the district.

4. The groups departing will be evacuated toward the following areas: Jarablus, Idleb, and the northern Homs countryside.

5. A committee shall be formed of Al-Waer representatives, the Homs security council and Russians to monitor the implementation of the deal and address breaches.

The deal also includes the deployment of a Russian military battalion of 60 to 100 people, including Russian officers, who will enter the Al-Waer district.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.



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