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More militants leaving last bastion in Syrian city of Homs

Militants and their families gather as they prepare to board a bus ahead of their evacuation from the al-Waer neighborhood of the Syrian city of Homs, March 18, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
A second group of militants and their families are leaving the last opposition-held neighborhood in the western Syrian city of Homs under a deal signed last year with the Damascus government.
According to Syria’s state-run SANA news agency, a new round of evacuations from Homs’ al-Waer neighborhood started on Monday, involving 466 people — including 129 militants.
The buses carrying the evacuees were escorted by Syrian security forces and Russian military police. Russia has been offering military support to the Syrian government in its fight against violent extremism.
Provincial Governor Talal Barrazi said earlier that the militants were granted safe passage out of Homs, located 162 kilometers north of the capital, Damascus, under a deal signed on March 13.
Those residents who remain in the city and who renounce violence can benefit from amnesty granted by President Bashar al-Assad, he added.

A first group of militants and their families was evacuated on March 18.
Barrazi added that the entire evacuation would be carried out within six to eight weeks.
Al-Waer, with an estimated 75,000 population, has been under a government siege since 2013.
This image shows a bus from al-Waer, the last opposition-held district of Homs, arriving in the Takfiri-held northern Syrian town of al-Bab, on March 19, 2017. (By AFP)
Those evacuated from al-Waer are relocated to an area around the border city of Jarablus, which is held by Turkish-backed militants.
Once the evacuation of the militants is completed, Damascus will be able to claim control over the entire city for the first time in years.

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