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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Militants begin evacuating town in Syria's Homs province

Iran Press TV

Sat May 20, 2017 1:35PM

In line with the final phase of implementing a deal between the Syrian government and groups operating against Damascus, foreign-backed militants have begun evacuating a district in Homs province.

On Saturday, at least one bus transporting militants and their families left Waer, a town now under the control of the Syrian army. About 2,500 more people were expected to leave the district within the coming hours.

Thousands of people have left the district in several stages since the deal, which is backed by Russia, came into force in March.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, up to 20,000 people will have left the district by the time it is fully implemented.

Syrian media reports said many of the militants were headed for the northwestern province of Idlib as well as the town of Jarablus along the country's northern border with Turkey.

Some will reportedly stay in Waer and hand over their weapons as the military moves in.

Sergei Druzhin, a Russian officer contributing to overseeing the implementation of the deal, said Russian military police would help with the evacuation. "Russia has a guarantor role in this agreement. Russian military police will stay, and will carry out duties inside the district."

The evacuation of Waer is one of the largest of its kind. It follows a number of similar deals in recent months that have brought many parts of western Syria under the control of the government.

Last December, several thousand civilians were allowed to leave Foua and Kefraya under a separate deal between armed groups and Damascus. The agreement also enabled the evacuation of a militant-held enclave in eastern Aleppo.

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