Syrian rebels and families start leaving Homs

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Last Monday, a reconciliation agreement was reached in al-Waer neighborhood in Homs city providing for settling the situation of the gunmen in the neighborhood and the evacuation of those who reject the settlement with their families, paving the way for the return of the state institutions, in coordination between the security and military committee in Homs and the Russian reconciliation center in Hmeimim-base.

Buses began transporting people out of the Al-Wair district on March 18.

The new agreement aims to finalise implementation of a "reconciliation deal" that has already seen several phases of rebel evacuation from Waer district, but which had stalled in recent months.

Moscow is a decades-old ally of the Damascus government, and in September 2015 launched an air campaign in support of president Al Assad's forces.

The evacuation of Waer, a north-western district that has been under siege by the army for years, is the latest in a series of "reconciliation" deals struck by the government in opposition-controlled areas.

Syrian state television said that under the agreement, fighters could stay in al-Waer if they handed over their weapons and settled their affairs with the government.

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Rebels will be bussed to opposition-held parts of Homs province, the town of Jarabulus on the Syrian-Turkish border or the northwest province of Idlib. But the opposition decries them as a tactic of forcibly displacing people who oppose Assad after years of bombardment and siege. A United Nations convoy tried to gain access to the district in February but it was seized by gunmen who diverted the assistance to a government-held area.

Mr Barazi said there was communication with other rebel-held areas north of Homs city to reach similar deals. Russian Federation is an ally of Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime.

They said they found no basis for reports that civilians were killed.

Once completed, it would mark the biggest evacuation during the war out of one Syrian district, which is home to about 40,000 civilians and more than 2,500 fighters, the monitoring group said.

Later, a Pentagon spokesman, Eric Pahon, said U.S. surveillance of the target area indicated evening prayers already had concluded before the attack.

The powerful ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham group also said the airstrike was carried out by the US-led coalition, adding that "the targeting mosques and places of worship is a war crime".

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