8 May 2014

Rebels leave besieged Syrian city

9:04 am on 8 May 2014

After several years of fighting with Syrian government forces, rebels and their families have been evacuating from the ancient city of Homs, marking the end of the uprising there.

Hundreds of rebels have been evacuated from their last stronghold in the city, and gone by bus to rebel-held territory to the north.

A bus takes activists out of Homs.

A bus takes activists out of Homs. Photo: AFP

The withdrawal is part of a deal that will also see rebels release dozens of captives and ease two sieges, the BBC reports.

It marks the end of three years of resistance in the central city, once termed the capital of the revolution against President Bashar al-Assad.

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 to continuous siege and bombardment.

In February, the government allowed about 1400 people to be evacuated from the Old City.

"The rest of the world failed us," one activist told the BBC as he prepared to leave.

A video posted online by activists on Wednesday morning showed the first group of fighters, some with their faces covered, walking in a line towards green buses.

They were watched by around a dozen men in uniform and flak jackets marked "police". In front of the buses was a white vehicle with the markings of the UN.