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 ,
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 ’s state-run SANA
agency, a new round of evacuations from Homs’ al-Waer neighborhood
started on Monday, involving 466 people — including 129 militants.
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.
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.

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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