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Evacuation Begins From Syria's Rebel-Held District Of Homs

The evacuation of a rebel-held neighborhood in Syria’s central city of Homs has begun under a deal brokered with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Reports say three buses loaded with 150 people -- mostly civilians, including women and children -- left the city’s Al-Waer neighborhood on December 9.

A total of 3,200 rebel fighters and their families are meant to be evacuated in last week’s deal, which came a week after the start of an evacuation of the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Qudsayya.

Meanwhile, members of Syria’s fractured opposition and rebel groups were meeting in the capital of Saudi Arabia on December 9 to try to forge a common stance at peace talks expected in the weeks ahead.

That gathering in Riyadh includes members of the powerful Islamist insurgent group Ahrar al-Sham, whose founders had links to Al-Qaeda.

However, Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, Al-Nusra Front, and the Syrian Kurds have not been invited.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa