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First group of Syrian militants leave their last bastion in Homs — governor

March 19, 7:49 UTC+3 BEIRUT

According to the agency, a total of 423 militants and over 1,000 civilians left Homs and headed to the town of Jarablus on the border with Turkey

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BEIRUT, March 19. /TASS/. Syrian militants began withdrawing from al-Waer, the last militant-held neighborhood in the north of the Syrian city of Homs, the governor of the Homs governorate told the SANA news agency.

According to the agency, a total of 423 militants left Homs and headed to the town of Jarablus on the border with Turkey. They were accompanied by 1,056 members of their families and other civilians.

Governor Talal Barrazi said that in line with ceasefire agreements and the presidential amnesty, members of armed groups willing to lay down arms and return to peaceful life will have a chance to do so.

"Hundreds of people agreed to undergo a probe by the law-enforcement agencies. Those who refused to surrender to the authorities will be transported with their families to northern regions of Syria," he said.

Omar al-Sibai, the secretary of the local branch of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, told the agency that some 10,000 people are willing to travel to northern Syria from Homs.

"Once the militants and their families withdraw, city authorities will prepare it for the return of more than 100,000 al-Waer residents, who were forced to flee the neighborhood after it was captured by armed groups," he said.

Al-Waer remained the last bastion of armed groups in Homs. In March 2014, more than 5,000 militants settled there under a ceasefire deal.

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