Syria Rebels Evacuate 'Capital of Revolution' Homs

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  • W460
  • W460

The evacuation of rebel-held parts of Syria's Homs began Wednesday under an unprecedented deal which hands back control to the government weeks before the presidential election.

After nearly two years of government siege, weary civilians and rebel forces made their way out of the shelled-out ruins of Old City and surrounding areas on buses taking them to opposition territory in northern Homs province.

The deal effectively turns over the city once dubbed the "capital of the revolution" to government control ahead of a June 3 election expected to return President Bashar Assad to office and marks a symbolic defeat for rebels seeking his ouster.

The evacuation began at around 10 am (0700GMT), with three buses carrying civilians and fighters, some of them wounded, departing from the devastated Old City.

Videos posted online by opposition activists showed a group of fighters, some with their faces covered with black or white scarves, walking in a line towards green buses.

They carried backpacks and light weapons as they boarded the buses, under the gaze of regime police and accompanied by a white U.N. car.

By late afternoon, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said around 400 of the approximately 1,200 people believed to be in the Old City had left.

Governor Talal al-Barazi told Agence France Presse a third and possibly a fourth convoy were set to leave the city before nightfall, with the operation continuing Thursday morning.

The evacuees are being transferred to the rebel-held town of Dar al-Kebira, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Homs.

Wael, an activist in the northern Homs province village of Termaaleh, told AFP he had received some of the evacuees.

"I asked one of my friends, who is now resting in my house, and he said to me that he felt hungry, and in pain and tearful over leaving Homs," he said.

"He said he felt his soul being pulled out of his body as he left Homs."

The deal between the regime and rebels, mediated by Iran's ambassador to Syria, was reached as part of an exchange for a number of hostages being held by opposition fighters in the northern city of Aleppo.

Under the agreement, fighters will also allow aid into two Shiite majority towns in Aleppo province, Nubol and Zahraa, where some 45,000 people are under rebel siege.

A rebel spokesman in Aleppo said 36 hostages, including "11 Iranians, some Lebanese, and the rest Syrians, all of them fighters", would be handed over.

By late Wednesday afternoon, 15 had already been transferred, said the source, speaking to AFP via the Internet on condition of anonymity.

He also said vehicles carrying aid had started to enter Nubol and Zahraa.

Once the Homs operation is complete, the evacuated areas are to be turned over to the government, which is expected to send in forces to sweep for mines and explosives.

The regime will then have control of all but one major area of Homs city.

While the area being reclaimed by the government is relatively small, it retains huge symbolic importance for the opposition.

At the start of Syria's uprising in March 2011, Homs came to be known as the "capital of the revolution" because of its massive anti-regime protests.

And after the opposition took up arms in response to a brutal government crackdown, the city gained iconic status among the opposition for resisting multiple offensives.

During a nearly two-year government blockade, which left around 3,000 people trapped, food and medical supplies dwindled, leaving residents to survive on little more than herbs in the final months of the blockade.

In February, a U.N.-Red Crescent operation successfully evacuated around 1,400 people and delivered limited aid to the besieged areas.

But hundreds of fighters and wounded people unable to make it to evacuation points were left behind, and government forces launched a fresh assault last month.

Many of those evacuated in February moved to the rebel-held Waer district, which will be the only remaining opposition area left in Homs city after the Old City operation.

Negotiations are under way for a similar deal to be implemented in Waer, according to government and opposition officials.

Comments 41
Missing 07 May 2014, 11:43

Hold your heads high as you are heroes.

Default-user-icon jin (Guest) 07 May 2014, 15:45

LOOOOOLLLL! Classic. But when Hezbollah sides with Iran against the Syrians, they're not terrorists? Wow, man. How do you even manage to remember your name with that much refuse sloshing around in your head?

Thumb Tony.Farris 07 May 2014, 15:48

And why don't you move to Syria chimp?

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 16:54

Another stupid conspiracy theory excuse of yours, Mr. Cowboy. Isis were welcomed, with open arms by the opposition. Now they are fighting a bloody war, over various territories in Syria, counter my facts now, no more personal theories.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 17:30

Al Nusra front are also an Al Qaeda group, so if Isis are Al Qaeda affiliated, how come they fighting their brothers? I can tell you why, because you can't control barbarians, sooner or later they will slaughter each other. From Al Jazeera, so don't give me any of this crap, about it's from Al Manar, even the pro western websites admits it.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 17:52

Another lie, The Resistance engaged Isis fighters in Yabroud, many more proofs to show you. Isis are also an Al Qaeda offshoot, they are the main perpetrator of suicide bombings across Shia areas of Iraq. So to say that they belong to Syrian government is an utter lie. Isis has been more isolated, the Al qaeda leader Al Zawahiri has tried many failed attempts to reunite his fighters.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 17:55 This is during the Qalamoun offensive, before the Al Qaeda groups started fighting each other.

This is another pro western website texas.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 18:02

Texas, before you become hysterical. Read the pro western articles i've shown you. Both Isis and Nusra belongs to Zawahiri, I still can't understand the fact, that you seem to support and Al Qaeda group over the other, very pathetic.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 18:03

Isis and Nusra, were brothers in arms. Now fighting each other over their differences. You seem to like Nusra, but they have done countless of crimes against humanity too.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 18:07

All conspiracy theories with no facts. Those are personal opinions, not news articles texas. Again let me ask you, I know you are anti Hezbollah, but now you've proven you are pro Al Nusra front? Which has also targeted LAF checkpoints.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 18:09

You claimed to be supporting the LAF many times, but you are now hailing their enemies, the Al Nusra front? Thank you for finally admitting you are a takfiri.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 18:19

Sure Texas Al-Nusra, personal conspiracies are indeed your thing. I'm just glad these takfiris are slaughtering one another. Save the rest of us time and bullets.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 18:23

You admitted it yourself, Mr. Al Nusra from Texas. Read the comments above, and every other person on this forum should do the same, Naharnet will probaly delete it.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 18:37

Haha, yes I know you idiots from Al Nusra and the other rebel groups think that Isis are Shia. Well thats just better for the rest of us, killing each other off.

You really are silly Mr. Nusra cowboy, still wishing for me to live in the US, even better. The more further you guys are from the truth, the better.

Keep it up with your personal theories. Good job

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 18:42 The story behind the split in the Al Qaeda groups. Oh i'm Mr. Isis now? First it was Hezbo Boy from America, now i'm Isis. Keep it going

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 18:51

Nusra from Texas sounds more promising, because everyone knows they are supported with heavy weapons from the US. What are you writing about now? You seem hysterical already.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 19:06

Now you are being emotional too, very sad for you. But that's what happens when you support takfiris.

Here you brothers claims Isis are Shi3a, I couldn't stop laughing.

By the way, celebration will be by the Syrian people, when they've all returned home, and back to the good lives they had before your Al Nusra buddies rose up with the so called "Arab Spring"

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 19:41

Jointly published by the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon.

Very convincing..

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 20:23

I suppose the Americans always tells the truth? Who is not being ridiculous? You and CandleCatcher are the same, no matter how much i reply, always the same garbage gets said, you are more hysterical than women.

Missing 07 May 2014, 20:42

Assad is the traitor who drops barrels of explosive and chemical weapons on his people. The same traitor that executed tens of thousands of people in his jails.

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 21:32

Well you claim i'm a liar, and i'm positive you are the one lying. So once again, our discussions comes to no agreement.

Missing 07 May 2014, 22:21

FT - Why do you need to lie? You know that these are ISIL who continue to fight the rebels almost exclusively. The rebels lost many thousands of men fighting these monsters.

Thumb -.@-wolf. 07 May 2014, 11:46

Take no prisoners...kill the cancerous cells, otherwise it will come back..chemotherapy plus radiation, to the max..

Missing peace 07 May 2014, 21:12

the rats were not kicked out but allowed in...

Missing coolmec 07 May 2014, 12:20

I could care less who wins as long as 2 million Syrians leave Lebanon and go back home along with the other million Bengla deshi, sri Lankans, Soudanese etc.. Lebanon has bene invaded by 3rd world refugees
This is a time bomb ticking ready to explode

Thumb Tony.Farris 07 May 2014, 15:50

@Coolmec, Shouldn't that include the Iranian militias, the so called hizbCocaine?

Missing coolmec 08 May 2014, 02:36

Tony farris
we should kick out all non Lebanese that are harming our way of life and harming the country.
we obviously can't rely on our corrupt politicians they can't even get together to elect a new president but Lebanese should be aware about the ticking bomb that can explode soon

Missing coolmec 08 May 2014, 02:33

This is the lamest excuse first and second the Lebanese are Lebanon's worst enemies. Screw these agencies they should be closed and Lebanese should hire Lebanese maids with higher pay up to meet Lebanese standards. The lamest excuse is what everyone says they are cheaper yea but at what price/ just walk in the streets of Beirut and you see all these maids pregnant,, so figure out the rest

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 16:40

This is a very huge loss for the takfiris. The war is lost for them, now let Syria heal and reform.

Thumb Tony.Farris 08 May 2014, 05:32

Isn't عماد مغنية a dead terrorist?

Thumb Mystic 07 May 2014, 17:36

The Latakia offensive has already been stalled, the government forces are regaining the ground around Kassab, right this momement, Al Samra by the coast has also been retaken by the national army, in Aleppo the army are about to cut off the takfiris, from their main supply route Turkey. It isn't going so well for you takfiris anymore Mr. Cowboy.

These retreating takfiris has only one thing on the horizon, death. The government wont allow them to go to Aleppo or Latakia for that matter, they will be supervised all the way.

Missing _karim 07 May 2014, 18:48

Excellent news. Down with the FSA-Al Qaeda jihadist terrorists and their Saudi sponsors!

Thumb cedre 07 May 2014, 23:07

Bashar destoyed the christian neighbourhood of the old city, and cleansed all the city of Homs from its sunni population.
These people welcomed Bekaa and South Lebanin shias in 2006, their 'muslim brothers'...
But dont worry ya HizbIsrael, they will come back and they will have revenge...

Thumb Mystic 08 May 2014, 03:01

Cedre salafi, explain to me why the christian population backs Assad then.

Thumb Mystic 08 May 2014, 03:03

yes the syrian people are our brothers, they must be freed from the takfiris.

Thumb Tony.Farris 08 May 2014, 05:35

Yes brother from another mother...
Mystic you're pathetic.

Missing coolmec 08 May 2014, 02:38

wake up dude quit that stupid game of blaming M8 or M14 etc both are lame act for once as Lebanese and look where the country is at.
M8 and m14 keep blaming each other and one day soon they will wake up and realize there is no longer Lebanon
Think Lebanon for a change and forget the stupidity of M8 and M14

Thumb Tony.Farris 08 May 2014, 05:27

Coolmec, I agree with you about m8-14 but when I post they always label me as m14, because I disagree with there stupidity. Look where hizbCocaine is taking Lebanon (to the abyss).

Thumb music66 08 May 2014, 05:57

hello my fellow humans,LOL well since its been clear since Adams arrival that greed power and jealous will kill the innocent. (aka Cain and Abel). And so dynasties have risen and fallen too around the globe.This is just another one, mainly from outside interference, the big bankers of the world, politicians all have a hand in the destruction of planet earth for EONs.

Thumb music66 08 May 2014, 06:06

But hopefully the good people of the earth, regardless of religion and race will not let those who are bad in High official places ruin the planet. I know GWB will not be happy,not just because someone threw a shoe, his inside job to manipulate the middle east might crumble.

Default-user-icon moris (Guest) 14 August 2014, 19:09

بدا الانسان السوري المحسوب على المعالارضة انه يخوض حرب الاخر على دولته باسم الحرية و تحن اسم الثورة و لم سنتبه هذا المعارض ال انفصام في شخصيته الا بعد ان دمر كل شيئا دخل في بنوك اعداء سوري الحضارة و الثقافة