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Hundreds of Syrians Leaving Last Rebel-held Part of Homs


Damaged shops are seen with new doors in the old city of Homs, Syria on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015.
Damaged shops are seen with new doors in the old city of Homs, Syria on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015.

Hundreds of people are leaving the last rebel-held section of the central Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday as part of a local peace deal with the government.

Syrian forces besieged the area for several years during the country's civil war, as pockets of rebels remained in the area that was one of the early flashpoints in the conflict.

Homs, Syria
Homs, Syria

In addition to opposition fighters leaving the Wael district, hundreds of civilians are boarding buses out of the area. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the violence in Syria, said 750 people were expected to leave Wednesday.

Once the rebel fighters leave, the Syrian government will be in full control of Homs, which is located about 150 kilometers north of the capital, Damascus, along a highway that also connects the cities of Hama and Aleppo further to the north.

Efforts to bring a comprehensive peace agreement to Syria have so far yielded little progress, while smaller, local deals have been struck in several parts of the country. The United Nations and a group of world powers are currently working to get the Syrian government and various opposition groups to begin U.N.-mediated talks by January 1.

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