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Syrian Rebels Leave Last Remaining Stronghold In Homs

Soldiers walk past buildings destroyed during fighting in Homs Governorate on March 5.

Syrian rebels and their families are leaving their last remaining stronghold in the city of Homs, under a Russian-backed evacuation deal.

Buses began transporting people out of the Al-Wair district on March 18.

Homs Governor Talal Barazi said he expected 1,500 people, including at least 400 rebels, to depart on March 18 for opposition-held areas northeast of Aleppo.

Between 10,000 and 15,000 rebels and civilians would evacuate in batches over the coming weeks under the agreement.

Homs was the early center of the 2011 popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Government forces have recaptured all but the Al-Wair district in the city.

Al-Wair is home to an estimated 75,000 people and has been under siege by government forces since late 2013.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP