(Zaman Al Wasl)- About 2400 Rebels and their families evacuated from Waer Neighborhood in Homs city have arrived to FSA-controlled town of al-Bab in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, local reporter said Sunday.
Rebels began leaving their last bastion in the city of Homs on Saturday under a Russian-backed deal with the regime expected to be among the largest evacuations of its kind.
The agreement underlines Bashar al-Assad's upper hand in the war, as more rebel fighters opt to leave areas they have defended for years in deals that amount to negotiated withdrawals to other parts of the country.
Several buses drove out of the al-Waer district in Homs, which was an early center of the popular uprising against Assad.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 rebels and civilians would evacuate in batches over the coming weeks under the deal, according to opposition activists in al-Waer and a war monitor.
Homs governor Talal Barazi told Reuters that he expected 1,500 people, including at least 400 fighters, to depart on Saturday for rebel-held areas northeast of Aleppo, and that most of al-Waer's residents would stay.
Along with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), Russian and Syrian forces were overseeing the evacuation, which would take about six weeks, he added.
"The preparations and the reality on the ground indicate that things will go well," Barazi said.
The Syrian government has described such deals as a "workable model" that brings the country closer to peace after six years of conflict. But the opposition decries them as a tactic of forcibly displacing people who oppose Assad after years of bombardment and siege.
Barazi said there was communication with other rebel-held areas north of Homs city to reach similar deals, including the towns of al-Rastan and Talbiseh.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said on Monday there are so far about 465,000 people killed and missing in Syria's civil war. (With Reuters)