Rebels, fam­i­lies begin pull­out from Homs

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD -

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.

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