Rebels, families begin pullout from Homs
Rebels and their families began leaving the Syrian city of Homs on Saturday, under a Russian-backed deal with the government expected to be among the largest evacuations of its kind.
The agreement underlines Syrian President Bashar alAssad’s upper hand in the war, as more rebel fighters opt to leave areas they have defended for years in deals that amount to negotiated withdrawals to other parts of the country.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 rebels and civilians are to evacuate in batches over the coming weeks under the deal, according to opposition activists in al-Waer and a war monitor.
The provincial governor, Talal Barazi, said he expected 1,500 people, including at least 400 fighters, to depart Saturday for rebel-held areas northeast of Aleppo, and that most of alWaer’s residents would stay.
Russian and Syrian forces are overseeing the evacuation, which is expected to take about six weeks.