Hundreds of rebel fighters evacuate Homs, Syria

HOMS, Syria -- The State Department said Monday it has evidence that Syria's Assad regime has carried out mass executions outside Damascus. It released images that, according to the U.S., show a crematorium used to dispose of the bodies.

Assad's forces have been pummeling the opposition in Damascus and the city of Homs. But in a deal, it allowed hundreds of rebels to board buses out.

For years they waged war against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. But Monday night, opposition fighters and their families lined up to leave, defeated.

Nearly 400 fighters -- some with weapons still in hand -- had boarded buses by sunset.

Assad's soldiers monitored the departure under the watchful eye of their Russian allies -- all part of a deal to relocate the opposition to northern Syria.

The rebel fighters did not want to talk with press, but in a video they shot, one young man explained: "It feels like a stab in the heart leaving Homs. But, god willing, I'll come back one day triumphant."

Homs' governor, Talal al-Barazi, said the negotiations to get this far were difficult.

"It is a truce for the time being," he said, but he warned the government would fight again in the future if it had to.

Assad's forces have used several different tactics to take back territory from opposition fighters. One has been to destroy entire neighborhoods.

And so the shelling continues on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, despite a similar relocation deal there, with thousands leaving.

Assad's forces have destroyed cities and killed and starved their enemies. Now, the rebel evacuations are bringing Assad closer to a symbolic victory of solidifying control over Syria's big cities.