Syria

Terrorists end evacuation of Homs Old City

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The last group of foreign-backed militants has left Syria’s Old City of Homs as part of a deal with the Syrian government.

The last batch of militants left the flashpoint city and the city is now fully under the control of government forces, Syrian state TV said late on Thursday.

“Old Homs is totally clean of armed terrorist groups,” a banner on Syrian TV read.

The agreement between the militants and the Syrian government was reached on May 4. The deal was mediated by the United Nations, Russia and Iran, and would bring almost all major districts of the city under the control of government forces.

The Syrian government’s talks with the militants came as part of efforts to facilitate access to the people trapped in conflict zones.

“What has been achieved was a result of efforts that lasted for months starting through evacuating hundreds of civilians from the Old City and settling the cases of nearly 820 gunmen who have given up and handed over their weapons to authorities,” said the provincial governor, Talal al-Barazi.

The withdrawal of the militants from Homs, which was under a tight militant siege for nearly two years, has handed a major victory to the government of President Bashar al-Assad just ahead of Syria’s presidential election on June 3.

In recent months, the Syrian army has managed to liberate a number of cities and towns from militant control.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by the Western-backed militants.

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