The Syrian Government and the opposition have reach a deal for rebel withdrawal from Homs as part of a UN-brokered deal, the government said on Tuesday. The agreement will reportedly take hold in Waer, the last rebel-controlled district of the city.
-This is a betrayal. We are ready to fight the assassin Assad until death, says one rebel fighter that Middle East Observer speaks to in Homs.
He is a local Homs inhabitant that has been fighting the regime since the civil war escalated.
-We have been fighting all intruders. Not only the regime. Islamic state and Nusra too. There has been a mess here in Homs. All groups have at one point been present, the fighter says.
The 2,000 remaining rebels will leave over the next two months, giving government forces full control of the city, according to the cityâ€™s governor, Talal al-Barazi.
Barazi told AFP the withdrawal had been agreed with â€œco-ordination committees,â€ but did not specify which rebel groups were involved. The UN has, however, declined to comment on the information that the remaining 2,000 rebels will begin withdrawing from Homs on Saturday.
“All the rebels will leave Waer within two months. A group of 200 to 300 armed men will leave in the first step, which will begin on Saturday,” Barazi said.
According to Barazi, the first stage of the deal will see rebels hand over heavy weaponry to the government over the course of a week.
A local opposition news site, Central Homs News Website, denied on Tuesday that the negotiations had been successful, reporting that a final deal had yet to be signed. However, the site reported that a ceasefire would come into force on Tuesday evening.
In 2014 opposition forces left the Old City of Homs as part of a negotiated retreat after a two-year government siege that devastated what was once known as the â€œcapital of the revolutionâ€.
The Syrian state news agency, SANA, also reported on Tuesday that 172 â€œwanted peopleâ€ had handed themselves into the authorities in Homs province. The report gave no further information about the incident. About 75,000 people live in Waer, down from 300,000 before the Syrian conflict began in March 2011.