17 January 2019, 18:32
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    Homs is under control of Syrian regime now

    Syrian forces have moved into previously rebel-held areas of Homs after the evacuation of opposition fighters following a two-year siege. Troops have begun sweeping the Old City for explosives, state media quoted Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi as saying. UN sources have told the BBC the evacuation is complete after the departure of a final convoy of rebels.

    The UN-supervised evacuation marks the end of three years of resistance in Homs, once dubbed the "capital of the revolution".

    Much of Homs fell to the opposition in 2011, but over the past two years government forces have gradually regained control by subjecting areas once home to tens of thousands of people to continuous siege and bombardment.

    Government forces took full control of the heart of Homs on Thursday, state media said, after rebels in the Old City boarded buses and were transported to rebel-held territory to the north.

    The withdrawal deal, which was brokered by the Iranian ambassador and agreed only after many months of negotiation, also saw the release of a number of hostages being held by rebels in Aleppo and Latakia provinces.

    One report said a Russian national and several Iranians were among them .

    Our correspondent says the armed groups within the Old City of Homs were deeply divided about whether to accept a ceasefire.

    The al-Nusra Front, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda, attempted to break the siege with a series of suicide bombings, but failed .

    State media quoted Mr Barazi as saying government troops had entered the Old City of Homs and began clearing it of explosives on Friday.

    There is now only one district in Homs - al-Wair in the north-western outskirts - that is still controlled by the opposition.

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