#AceWorldNews – BEIRUT – May 07 – Exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, hundreds of Syrian rebels on Wednesday left their last remaining bastions in the heart of the central city of Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces.
The exit of some 1,200 fighters and civilians will mark a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city, which was one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar Assad’s rule, earning it the nickname of “capital of the revolution.”
Gaining full control of Syria’s third largest city is a major win for Assad on multiple levels. Militarily, it solidifies the government hold on a swath of territory in central Syria, linking the capital Damascus with government strongholds along the coast and giving a staging ground to advance against rebel territory further north.
It cited Al-Jadeed television as saying that an aid convoy was prevented from entering the villages of Nubl and Zahraa in Aleppo. The two Shia villages are besieged by rebel forces, and the deal to evacuate the rebels in Homs was contingent on aid being allowed into the villages.
The convoy had been stopped by an Islamist brigade, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Politically, gains on the ground boost Assad’s hold on power as he seeks to add a further claim of legitimacy in presidential elections set for June 3.
Daily Star – Syrian Observatory of Human Rights – Al-Jadeed TV – AP
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1. Lebanon Daily Star – May 07 – http://tinyurl.com/pfof8xb