Residents of Sheikh Najjar village greet Syrian army soldiers loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, after the soldiers claimed to have advanced and regained control of the area, May 3, 2014. (REUTERS/George Ourfalian)
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Syrian rebels in the city of Homs are expected to abandon their positions Tuesday as part of a deal struck with the regime, Iranian mediators and the United Nations, as government forces advanced Sunday in Aleppo and in a strategic town near Damascus.The deal over the Old City of Homs, under total blockade since June 2012, will see some 2,250 people, mostly fighters, evacuate the flashpoint city in central Syria. Rebels will head to opposition-held areas in the north of Homs province, handing over control to the army, opposition sources told AFP. Under the deal, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, relief will be allowed into two Shiite, pro-regime towns in the northern province of Aleppo that are under siege by rebels.Regime representatives maintained that an "arrangement," rather than a deal, had been reached.The Observatory said that government troops, backed by Hezbollah fighters, also launched a campaign to break the monthslong rebel blockade of Aleppo's Central Prison.
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