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article imageSyrian regime to retake full control over Homs

By Paul Iddon     May 8, 2014 in Politics
The Syrian regime is retaking full control over Homs today the once vaunted "capital of the revolution." The city, Syria's third-largest, has been under bombardment for nearly two years now.
Reuters reminds us that after digging in in the Old City of Homs for nearly two years some 900 opposition fighters have now been evacuated in a series of bus convoys that have been arranged after a ceasefire agreement was reached between the two sides. From Homs they were driven to territory their forces still control outside of the city.
AFP writes that according to the governor of Homs about 80 percent of the fighters have so far been evacuated. The rest will follow in the coming hours.
Following their complete withdrawal he said the regime will then declare Homs "a secure city."
Homs of course was the first city whereby the 2011 Syrian uprising against the rule of Assad turned into an armed struggle. It was Homs that was heavily bombarded in early 2012 when the Syrian regime attempted to put down a popular uprising with brute military force.
It has been rumored over the past few days (the latest example of this rumor being reported by ANSA) that Iran and Russia played a "key role" in brokering this evacuation agreement.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights opposition monitoring group has said that the rebels agreed to have released some 45 people in order to be granted safe passage out of the besieged Old City. Those 45 were said to have included "an Iranian woman, 12 children, and 29 Syrian government soldiers," according to the Observatory.
As reported here earlier it was even rumored that 70 prisoners of Iranian and Lebanese origin would be freed as part of this alleged deal. They were being held by the opposition Islamic Front coalition, a coalition of armed opposition groups of an Islamist persuasion that have broken from the Free Syrian Army group but aren't directly associated with the Al Qaeda network.
The Homs governor however denied there were any hostages of Iranian origin.
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