Syria declares Old Homs City rebel-free
Posted on May 09 2014 | IANS
Damascus, May 9 : Governor Talal al-Barazi Friday declared the Old City of Homs in Syria "secure" and "free of arms and gunmen", media reported.
The rebels' evacuation from the Old City of Homs is part of a deal concluded recently between the Syrian government troops and the armed militant groups, SANA news agency reported.
The deal went into effect earlier last week with a ceasefire Wednesday and the departure of around 968 rebels and civilians from districts of old Homs to the town of al-Dar al-Kabira in northern Homs.
In exchange, the rebels agreed to lift their siege of the pro-government towns of Nubul and Zahra in the northern province of Aleppo and to release the people and soldiers they had kidnapped earlier.
The army has assumed control of the Old City after hundreds of gunmen were evacuated, al-Barazi said.
A few militants also turned themselves in and handed over their weapons to the authorities.
The evacuation started two days ago with the aim to have the city of Homs cleared of arms and gunmen.
The armed forces have accelerated efforts to enable residents to return to their homes.