Syria rebels begin evacuating Homs region

  • 09/12/2015

Syrian rebel forces have begun evacuating the last district they hold in the central city of Homs under a deal with the regime, sending out dozens of civilians.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said three buses carrying about 150 civilians had left the district and more were to follow.

The deal was reached earlier this month and will see some 2000 rebels and their families leave the besieged Waer district of Homs city, once dubbed "the capital of the revolution".

Abdel Rahman said about 750 people, including civilians, were awaiting evacuation on Wednesday (local time).

"They all gathered at 4am in the streets, waiting to leave the city," Abdel Rahman said.

Buses would head from Homs city to the Qalaat al-Madiq area of central Hama province, then onto the northwestern province of Idlib, he added.

Idlib province is held by the Army of Conquest rebel alliance, which includes Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front and which would send some of its forces to escort the buses, according to Abdel Rahman.

Earlier this month, Homs governor Talal Barazi said all rebels would leave Waer within two months, in return for the regime lifting its siege of the district and ending military operations there.

Government police – but not troops – will then re-enter the area.