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Syrian forces poised to recapture Homs after truce agreed with rebels


Syria‘s government and rebels have agreed to a ceasefire in Homs to allow hundreds of fighters holed up in the old quarters of the city to leave – a deal that will bring the country’s third-largest city under the control of forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad.

If the agreement holds, the capture of the city will be a significant victory for Assad weeks before presidential elections set for 3 June.

Homs, in the central western plains of Syria, was one of the first cities to rise up against Assad’s rule three years ago, earning it the nickname of the “capital of the revolution”. After waves of protests, it was the first city to be largely taken over by armed rebels as the uprising evolved into outright civil war.

Assad’s forces have been engaged in gruelling urban warfare trying to wrest Homs back. For the past months, rebels were isolated and blockaded in neighbourhoods centred on the historic old quarters, battered by heavy government air strikes and artillery.

Journalists in Homs on Friday said the city was unusually quiet, with no shots fired from either side.

Beibars Tilawi, a Homs-based opposition activist, said of the ceasefire: “This isn’t what we wanted. But it’s all we could get.”

The deal is a face-saving measure for the rebels. It calls for a 48-hour truce in rebel-held parts of Homs, after which hundreds of fighters holed up in the area will be evacuated to opposition-held areas north of the city, according to Tilawi and another activist who uses the name Thaer Khalildiya and is based in the countryside north of the city.

News of the deal was also reported by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, and the TV channel al-Manar, owned by the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah, allied to Assad, as well as by the Lebanese channel al-Mayadeen. There was no immediate comment by Syrian officials.

The 48-hours truce began on Friday, said Tilawi, Khalidiya and the Syrian Observatory. The observatory gets its information from a network of activists on the ground.

The agreement came weeks after pro-government forces began heavily pounding rebel-held parts of Homs. The fighters were already badly weakened by a blockade that had caused widespread hunger and suffering, and rebels outside Homs did not come to their aid. Despairing, hundreds surrendered to Assad-loyal forces, activists said.

But a hardcore group remained fighting, dispatching explosive-rigged cars into government-controlled areas, killing dozens of people, mostly civilians. Most recently, two car bombs on Tuesday killed more than 50 people in a government-controlled area of Homs.

Separately on Friday, two suicide bombings in villages of the nearby province of Hama killed 18 people, the state-run television and activists reported.

Source :

حمص پر شامی افواج کا قبضہ۔ “باغیوں” نے جنگ بندی قبول کر لی۔ “باغیوں” کو شمال کی طرف فرار کرنے کے لیئے 48 گھنٹوں کی مہلت۔ حمص کو بغاوت کا گڑھ سمجھا جاتا تھا۔ پچھلے کئی مہینوں سے دہشتگرد شہر کے قدیم علاقوں میں شدید محاصرے کا شکار تھے۔ ایک باغی رہنما نے کہا کہ ہم یہ نہیں چاہتے تھے مگر صرف اتنا ہی حاصل کر سکے۔

ایڈیٹر نوٹ : بی بی سی کی اس رپورٹ میں شیعہ مسلمانوں کو پاکستان میں سب سے زیادہ دہشت گردی کا شکار بجا طور پر بتایا گیا ہے لیکن ایجنسیوں کے پالتو لبرلز اور انسانی حقوق کے نام نہاد کارکن ابھی تک پاکستان میں شیعہ نسل کشی کو جھٹلانے یا اس پر پردہ ڈالنے کی کوشش کرتے نظر آتے ہیں – کبھی وہ شیعہ اور ہزارہ شیعہ میں تقسیم کرتے نظر آتے ہیں اور کبھی شیعہ نسل کشی کو ایران سعودیہ پراکسی وار کا نتیجہ بتاتے اور کبھی تو شیعہ نسل کشی کو سرے سے ہی جھٹلاتے دکھائی دیتے ہیں –