Syrian Rebels Evacuated City of Homs

World Today

In Syria, the rebels evacuated the central city of Homs this week, following a deal with the government. Thousands of Syrians are now returning to the “capital of the revolution” to massive scenes of destruction. But the people remain divided over the deal: some feel it’s is a victory for the government — others, not so much. CCTV’s Alaa Ebrahim has more. 

Syrian Rebels Evacuated City of Homs

Syrian Rebels Evacuated City of Homs

In Syria, the rebels evacuated the central city of Homs this week, following a deal with the government. Thousands of Syrians are now returning to the "capital of the revolution" to massive scenes of destruction. But the people remain divided over the deal: some feel it's is a victory for the government -- others, not so much. CCTV's Alaa Ebrahim has more.
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The historic center of Homs has long been considered the stronghold of the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad, it’s now firmly back in the hands of the Syrian government and its military forces.

The ‘ground zero’ of the three-year uprising is a shattered ruin.

Where once insurgents held sway, Syrian army bomb disposal officers now dismantle hastily discarded munitions. Weapons left behind after rebels agreed to a deal that gave them an escape route.

It’s thought more than a thousand fled north during the brief ceasefire.

A soldier in the Syrian army told the reporter: “After over three years of fighting and after we imposed a tight siege on them they left, we are now in the middle of search operation to secure the area and soon people will be allowed in.”

Once the commercial center of Syria’s third largest city, the old city of Homs is now reduced to rubble.

The former bustling shopping district is unrecognizable. Banks are looted and torched along with countless shops and homes. The rebel’s former headquarters was also incinerated to erase all traces of the insurgency.

The fate of hundreds of people believed held hostage by rebel groups in Homs remains unclear. Government claims more than 800 were held against their will and have been killed.

Many still hold out hope.

Retaking the old city in Homs has given Syria’s military a major moral boost and dealt a symbolic blow to the opposition. It was where the first armed protests against Bashar al-Assad’s long-time rule began and the first rebel units formed.

Many say that if Homs could find its way back to the control of the Syrian government then nothing is impossible in the Syrian crisis. Even the most optimistic of residents here didn’t expect the den of insurgency will go down without a final fight and if could happen here many hope that it could be repeated elsewhere.