Hundreds leave besieged Homs district in latest evacuation

Hundreds leave besieged Homs district in latest evacuation
2 min read
09 April, 2017
At least 242 rebels had left Waer along with their families under a deal granting them safe passage to opposition-held territory elsewhere in the country.
At least 242 rebels had left Waer along with their families [Anadolu]

Hundreds more Syrian rebels and their families left the last opposition-held neighbourhood of the central city of Homs on Saturday, Syria's state news agency said.

At least 242 rebels had left Waer along with their families under a deal granting them safe passage to opposition-held territory elsewhere in the country, SANA reported.

Up to 400 rebels and their relatives were expected to leave by the end of the day, with evacuations continuing each week until the end of the month, SANA quoted Talal Barazi, Homs provincial governor as saying.

Saturday's evacuations were the fourth batch of rebel departures from Waer under a Russian-supervised deal to surrender all of Homs city to the Syrian regime.

As part of the agreement, at least 12,000 people will be transferred to Aleppo province, 6,200 to Idlib and 2,400 to Homs, according to Anadolu.

Opposition activists have criticised the deal, saying it aims to displace 12,000 al-Waer residents, including 2,500 fighters. The government has rejected those allegations. 

The UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien also voiced concern over the agreement, stressing that any evacuations must be voluntary and must not be done "through any type of 'surrender' agreement which results in the decimation of an area and the forced displacement" of civilians.