People exit rebel-held area in Syrian peace deal

Updated: 2015-12-09 15:23


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People exit rebel-held area in Syrian peace deal

A general view the Syrian city of Homs, Syria December 8, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIRUT - Dozens of people left the last insurgent-held area in the Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday under a local peace deal between the government and insurgents, a group monitoring the war said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the first bus had left the previously besieged area of the western city, and around 750 people were expected to leave during the day.

That number will include scores of fighters and civilians, with priority given to women, children and the severely wounded, the Observatory's head Rami Abdulrahman said, citing sources on the ground.

The United Nations is presiding over implementation of the deal which was agreed directly between the Syrian sides. Diplomats say local ceasefires between Syrians may be the most effective way of bringing peace to a country torn apart by conflict for nearly five years.

Humanitarian aid reached the Waer district of Homs last week under the terms of the agreement. The Homs deal follows the stalling of a separate plan aimed at halting fighting between rebels and government forces near Damascus.

In late September, Iran and Turkey, which back opposing sides in the Syrian conflict, helped bring about local ceasefires in the town of Zabadani near the Lebanese border and in two villages in the northwestern province of Idlib.