First Batch of Rebels Leave Al-Waer Under Evacuation Deal With Government

Rebel fighters and their families began leaving al-Waer, their last bastion in the city of Homs, on Saturday, March 18, as part of a deal that the Syrian government claimed would help end fighting in the area.

The agreement, reached on Monday, March 13, came after a month of escalated shelling of the neighborhood by pro-regime forces, according to a UK-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). It followed earlier evacuation deals between rebels and government forces that were not fully implemented.

The pro-opposition Homs Media Center (HMC) said 2,000 people were leaving for the rebel-held area of Jarabulus in Aleppo on Saturday. Reuters cited HMC as saying between 10,000 and 15,000 people would leave al-Waer over the coming weeks.

Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi said the evacuation process was being overseen by Syrian and Russian forces, as well as the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency. Credit: Facebook/Qasioun News Agency via Storyful