Tuesday, April 11, 2017

More Syrian rebels evacuate Homs in agreement with Assad government

(March 27)On March 13th Syrian authorities and rebels in Homs reached an agreement through Russian mediation that allowed militants and their families to leave Homs by stages with Syrian government troops guaranteeing them safe passage.

On March 18th over 1,400 militants and members of their families left al-Waer for Jarablus city in the north of Aleppo province in accordance with the agreement. Russia is acting as a guarantor of the agreement. A recent Digital Journal article discusses this earlier evacuation.According to Sputnik an informed source in the Syrian security service said that there were a second group of a total of 1,276 people who left Homs on March 26th including 436 rebel fighters. The source also claimed that there were 387 women and about 460 children who left. The militants were allowed to take some weapons with them including more than 50 assault rifles, 5 sniper rifles and 24 handguns. The Syrian civil war has lasted about six years now and so far attempts to achieve a peaceful solution have failed although peace talks are ongoing.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 rebels and civilians are to expected to leave in weekly batches opposition activists have claimed. Homs governor Talai Barazi gave a higher figure of nearly 1,600 leaving on Monday to areas held by Turkish-backed rebels north of Aleppo. Syrian state TV reported that several hundred people had left early Monday. Barazi said the operation would be finished before sunset. The Assad government has been urging rebel held pockets to surrender under deals similar to this one. Some opposition activists have criticized the agreement claiming it will displace 12,000 al-Waer residents, the district of Homs involved, with the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights calling the residents internally displaced people. Barazi, Homs governor said: “Matters are moving smoothly and there are no obstacles.”
Barazi said that both Russian and Syrian forces were monitoring the evacuation process. He said the operation would take about six weeks in total. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group estimates that there are about 40,000 civilians and 2,500 fighters who are in the besieged Al-Waer district of Homs.


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