BEIRUT (Dispatches) -- Syrian government forces are in full control of the last militant enclave in Syria's largest province after "overpowering terrorism" following the evacuation of thousands of armed men and civilians, an officer told state-run TV Tuesday.
The militants have agreed to surrender the northern countryside of Homs province to the government under a deal reached in early May. According to the deal, thousands of militants and civilians who refuse to live under government control were to be evacuated to other terrorist-held areas in the country's north.
State media and activists say more than 27,000 civilians and gunmen have left the northern countryside of Homs in the past days, the latest in a string of capitulation deals by the terrorists around the country. In a major victory for the Syrian government, the terrorists agreed, following Russian-sponsored mediation, to evacuate their areas in early May.
The northern rural Homs deal came days after terrorists cleared their last remaining strongholds around the capital Damascus. The government troops and allied fighters continue to battle the remaining Deash terrorists in a pocket south of Damascus.
A Syrian security officer told state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV on Tuesday that police began deploying in northern rural Homs, restoring government control.
"We declare from the area that we have triumphed over terrorism and we declare that we have overpowered terrorism from Homs province," the unnamed officer told Al-Ikhbariya. "Starting today, northern rural Homs will begin to return to normal life."
Al-Ikhariya TV showed Syrian government forces men raising the country's official flag over a building in a village in northern Homs.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more evacuations are expected Tuesday. A group of U.S.-backed terrorists have a base in southern Homs near the border with Iraq.