Updated: The first group of gunmen leave al-Waer neighborhood

Homs, SANA –The first phase of the agreement among the committees that are interested in the settlement of the wanted persons in al-Waer neighborhood in Homs started on Wednesday in preparation for evacuating the city of arms and gunmen and the return of all state establishments to it.

State Minister for National Reconciliation Affairs Dr. Ali Haidar, who supervised the implementation of the agreement, said in a statement to SANA reporter that the agreement emphasizes the seriousness and decision by the government to achieve reconciliations and provide all facilitations, pointing out that what happened today proves that the project of national reconciliation is Syrian par excellence and it is the main way to build a basis for Syria to return as it was previously.

Minister Haidar said that the first phase of the agreement opens the door to end the long suffering of the locals in al-Waer neighborhood in particular and in Homs city in general, noting that all areas in Homs countryside are qualified for local reconciliations and that there are promising and good approaches in parallel with local reconciliations in other provinces.

Minister Haidar added that the issue of the missing and abducted persons will be discussed seriously and in a transparent way by the committee formed for this purpose in the next phase of the reconciliation in al-Waer.

For his part, Governor of Homs Talal al-Barazi said in a statement to SANA reporter that the first group of gunmen started leaving al-Waer neighborhood in an implementation of the settlement agreement reached earlier this month by the committees concerned with settling the situation in the neighborhood.

The gunmen’s departure, carried out within the agreement that is aimed at clearing al-Waer of gunmen and weapons, is being implemented under the patronage of the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).

Homs Governor added that the first phase which will be completed later this week included 720 person including 300 gunmen who want to leave and 100 families including 400 women, children and civilians in addition to 20 wounded persons and persons in need including patients and paralyzed persons, pointing out that the Directorate of Health will treat them in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent( SARC) while others will be treated in Syrian hospitals and some others will leave with the convoy.

The governor pointed out that the first group includes all gunmen from groups that do not accept the agreement which was reached, noting that after this stage the parties concerned will begin accepting the settlement of status of those who have the will to settle, explaining that after three weeks the extremist gunmen will have left the neighborhood and life will have returned to normal.

The settlement of the status of those who want this will be settled, while those who don’t want to have their status settled will be out at the final stages of the agreement.

In the first stage of the agreement, the gunmen who are willing to leave will have to hand over their medium-weight and heavy weapons to the side specified by the committees and will be allowed to keep only light weapons, according to al-Barazi.

The Governor noted that during the second stage of the settlement, the gunmen willing to go back to their normal lives will have their legal status settled, noting that all state institutions will go back to work in the neighborhood in the course of the second and third stages.

By the end of the third stage, al-Waer neighborhood will be clear of weapons and gunmen and under full control by the state, and will be safe and stable, with no arms but the arms of the Syrian Arab army and all state establishments will resume work including police and security departments who will maintain security, according to the Governor.

Al-Barazi explained that there is a committee concerned with the affairs of the kidnapped and missing persons which began work a few days ago, noting that its work needs attention, patience and secrecy, adding that lists of the missing persons are presented to the concerned authorities to be studied.

Al-Barazi stressed that there is no international involvement in the agreement of al-Waer neighborhood which has been a Syrian- Syrian dialogue for months, noting that the role of the UN and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent was limited in participating in logistics and the process of evacuation.

In Turn, resident representative of the UN in Syria Jacob al-Hilo described the day as “historic” in Homs city, noting that the United Nations is on the ground as a facilitating party that builds confidence between the two parties.

Al-Hilo expressed optimism that the life will be normal in al-Waer neighborhood and all locals will return home after they were obliged to leave.

Qabas/ Manal

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