In Syrian city, an orderly evacuation of rebels

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In Syrian city, an orderly evacuation of rebels

Hundreds of rebels and civilians began leaving the last opposition-held district of Syria's Homs Saturday under a controversial deal that will bring the whole city under government control.

The deal had been negotiated between a Russian team and rebels, stipulating that around 12,000 people will leave al-Waer area, among them 2,500 fighters.

The deal follows others that were never fully implemented between the government and rebel groups in al-Waer, which has been pounded by air strikes in recent weeks.

About 1,500 people will leave for the Aleppo countryside on Saturday, Homs Governor Talal Barazi has said.

"These lies are a desperate attempt aimed at sabotaging the reconciliation agreement of al-Waer neighborhood in particular and the process of successive reconciliations in general", said al-Barazi.

The government has increasingly tried to press besieged rebel areas to surrender and accept what it calls reconciliation agreements that involve fighters departing for northern Syria.

In an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix last week, Assad said deals brokered locally with rebels were "the real political solutions".

The evacuation of a rebel enclave in the Syrian city of Homs started Saturday.

Broadcasting live from the Al-Waer departure area, Syrian state television spoke to a Russian soldier, who said via an interpreter that security would soon return to the district.

"Russia is a guarantor of the Waer agreement's implementation and will monitor its execution", said a Russian colonel overseeing the operation.

Over the past month, government forces have stepped up bombardment of the district, killing dozens of people, according to the Britain-based Observatory.

Rebels will be bussed to opposition-held parts of Homs province, the town of Jarabulus on the Syrian-Turkish border or the northwest province of Idlib.

The Syrian conflict began six years ago, when the Baath regime - in power since 1963 and led by Bashar al-Assad -responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army. Russian Federation is an ally of Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime.

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