DAMASCUS, SYRIA (0:50 A.M.) – Some 300 rebel militants left the Al-Waer suburb in green buses on Thursday, thus almost concluding a deal negotiated between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and several Islamist factions.
The stubborn insurgents left the isolated neighborhood, located on the northwestern outskirts of the provincial capital, for the northern Homs countryside. Previous batches have departed for the Jarabulus pocket and Idlib, depending on whether their allegiance was with Turkey, Al-Qaeda or the Homs-based Islamist leadership.
The deal was facilitated by the Red Crescent which allowed for local rebels to bypass government checkpoints in return for handing over control of Al-Waer.
Thousands of insurgents have already left Al-Waer in over ten separate batches, suggesting a massive fighting rebel force to be cutoff from the rebel mainland since 2014.
Nevertheless, the last rebel batch is expected to leave on Saturday which effectively would bring the entire Al-Waer suburb under government control, thereby restoring safety to Homs city in the process.
The northern Homs pocket is currently under a safe zone agreement which has secured a somewhat lasting ceasefire in the region. With the ‘de-escalation zones’ in place, the SAA has transferred tens of thousands of troops to ISIS frontlines in Aleppo, Hama, Deir Ezzor and Homs.