Europe

Syrian rebels begin evacuation from besieged neighborhood

  • Gunmen carrying their weapons and some family members leave the al-Waer neighborhood bound for a town on the Turkish border, in Homs, Syria, Saturday, March 18, 2017. Scores of Syrian opposition fighters and their families have begun leaving al-Waer, the last rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs as part of a Russian-backed evacuation deal signed earlier this week. The city was once known as the epicenter of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo)

    Gunmen carrying their weapons and some family members leave the al-Waer neighborhood bound for a town on the Turkish border, in Homs, Syria, Saturday, March 18, 2017. Scores of Syrian opposition fighters and their families have begun leaving al-Waer, the last rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs as part of a Russian-backed evacuation deal signed earlier this week. The city was once known as the epicenter of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Women and children board buses to leave the al-Waer neighborhood bound for a town on the Turkish border, in Homs, Syria, Saturday, March 18, 2017. Scores of Syrian opposition fighters and their families have begun leaving al-Waer, the last rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs as part of a Russian-backed evacuation deal signed earlier this week. The city was once known as the epicenter of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo)

    Women and children board buses to leave the al-Waer neighborhood bound for a town on the Turkish border, in Homs, Syria, Saturday, March 18, 2017. Scores of Syrian opposition fighters and their families have begun leaving al-Waer, the last rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs as part of a Russian-backed evacuation deal signed earlier this week. The city was once known as the epicenter of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Gunmen carrying their weapons and some family members leave the al-Waer neighborhood bound for a town on the Turkish border, in Homs, Syria, Saturday, March 18, 2017. Scores of Syrian opposition fighters and their families have begun leaving al-Waer, the last rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs as part of a Russian-backed evacuation deal signed earlier this week. The city was once known as the epicenter of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo)

    Gunmen carrying their weapons and some family members leave the al-Waer neighborhood bound for a town on the Turkish border, in Homs, Syria, Saturday, March 18, 2017. Scores of Syrian opposition fighters and their families have begun leaving al-Waer, the last rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs as part of a Russian-backed evacuation deal signed earlier this week. The city was once known as the epicenter of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Syrian opposition fighters and their families have begun leaving the last rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs as part of a Russian-backed evacuation deal signed earlier this week.

Reporters saw scores of opposition fighters and their families leaving the area Saturday in buses bound for the northern rebel-held town of Jarablous on the border with Turkey.

The al-Waer neighborhood is home to about 75,000 people and has been under a government siege since 2013, triggering shortages of medicine, and occasionally of food.

Some opposition activists have criticized the agreement, saying it aims to displace 12,000 al-Waer residents, including 2,500 fighters. The evacuation will take place over the coming weeks.