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Another Diplomatic Victory for Putin in Homs

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 5:46
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Russia has reached another diplomatic milestone after the insurgents entrenched in the El Waer neighbourhood of Homs have surrendered their weapons. Syrian rebels have begun to abandon the area, the only one of the 36 districts of Homs, Syria’s third largest city, still under control of the rebels. “The first phase of the agreement is being implemented,” said Talal al Barazi, governor of the northern city of Homs, a vital route regime in Damascus to his fief in the coastal enclave, and the first town symbol of the opposition armed rebellion and repression of Bashar al-Assad, in the first months of 2012. The truce between the rebels surrounded in the Al Waer, northwest of the city, will take place in three phases. The agreement would affect 350 armed men and their families, after two and a half years under the siege of the Syrian Army. The agreement was reached thanks to a Russian initiative to talk to insurgents in Homs and other cities where rebels had been surrounded by the Syrian Army. Both the Russians and the Syrian representatives had been negotiating with rebel leaders to put down their arms and be reintroduced to Syrian life along with their wives and children. “So far we have seen out six buses with men carrying guns and their families, including children,” says Joseph Barudi, present during the departure of the fighters. The first phase will be implemented for a week to evacuate the armed men through a corridor to the Hama countryside, where other insurgent groups are fighting against the Syrian troops. Also, both the UN and the Syrian Red Crescent delivered humanitarian aid to between 60 and 70,000 civilians still in Al Waer. Before the conflict, the district had 300,000 residents. In a second phase, “armed militias will surrender their weapons and will be reintegrated into society,” stated the governor. Those who have been found guilty of crimes must abide by them. In the last stage of the truce, which will last 45 days, the Al Waer neighborhood will be “cleared of weapons and will remain under full control of the government,” he explained to reporters who talked to Al Barazi. This is the second truce with rebels in the city of Homs. The first took place in May 2014, in which the Syrian troops opened a corridor to let out 1,400 rebels and 600 civilians. Civilians and former fighters were bussed out, gun in hand, in the northern outskirts of the province, adding to other rebel factions stationed there. “This is to regain control of cities where fighting inflicted great losses in life and property, to transfer them to the periphery where it is easier to fight them,” a Syrian Army source told the media on condition of anonymity. The residents of Homs received the news with relief after the truce was postponed for three consecutive days. “As the situation normalizes, people will return to their homes, highways will be reopened and lands will be re-cultivate,” says Mazen Taher, a farmer of 37 years of age. The fields surrounding the Al Waer have been flooded by the Syrian army to prevent the rebels from dig underground tunnels. Yesterday morning, sniper fire ceased on both sides. Given the degree of destruction of the old city of Homs, including its souks, and despite the truce that will leave the city under full control of the regime, reconstruction promises to be long. “We’ve been reconstructing the souk for five months and we have at least a year and a half to go,” says site manager Rabih Abou referring to a row of shops that is 10 km long. Although the neighbors are gradually returning to the old city after two years since the last ceasefire was implemented, few have the means to rebuild their homes. “We still live in the village because we have no money to rebuild our house,” say the sisters Irgan and Dalal Suad, whose burned house remains without walls.

The post Another Diplomatic Victory for Putin in Homs appeared first on The Real Agenda News.

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