Regime retakes full control of central Syria as rebels evacuate

Evarado Alatorre
May 17, 2018

The militants and their relatives were evacuated from areas straddling the boundary between the provinces of Homs and Hama to Idlib province under a deal reached between the militant groups and the Syrian government.

The northern rural Homs deal came days after rebels cleared their last remaining strongholds around the capital Damascus.

"We declare from the area that we have triumphed over terrorism and we declare that we have overpowered terrorism from Homs province", the unnamed officer told Al-Ikhbariya. The deals were mediated by Russian Federation, the main ally of the Syrian government, which has deployed its military police in the evacuated areas.

The surrender in northern Homs and southern Hama adds to what has been described as one of the largest population shifts in Syria since the conflict began.

Hundreds of people gathered in the centre of the town of Talbiseh in Homs province to welcome the return of government security forces and attend a flag-raising ceremony on the main square.

Units from the Syrian Army and other government forces have been looking to build on their impressive territorial gains in Damascus' East Ghouta region, via operation Damascus Steel, and are continuing to oust Daesh* terrorists from their remaining positions in south Damascus.

Regime retakes full control of central Syria as rebels evacuate
Regime retakes full control of central Syria as rebels evacuate

Nearby towns and villages in the areas of Talbiseh and Al Hula were also evacuated, the official SANA news agency and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor reported.

Activists said the deployment began in smaller villages in northern Homs, but it was not clear when it would begin in larger towns such as Houla, in northern Homs province.

"The last convoy of terrorists and their families exits northern Homs province and southern Hama province", SANA reported.

The UK-based observatory said that some 34,500 people, militants and their families, left the area as part of the deal.

This suggests the southern province, which is protected by a USA -backed de-escalation zone agreement, may be the next battleground in the Syrian conflict.

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