Syrian government forces seize last rebel enclave in Homs

Elias Hubbard
Мая 17, 2018

The Syrian government retook full control of central Syria on Wednesday as rebels and their relatives were evacuated from final pockets of territory still outside the regime's grasp, an AFP correspondent reported.

The only other area still surrounded by the Syrian army, in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp south of Damascus, is held by Daesh terrorists.

Since March, around 200,000 people were forced to relocate to other parts of the country as part of surrender deals after crippling sieges and bombardment by government forces, according to the United Nations, which says the practice amounts to forced displacement.

He noted that, with the liberation of northern Homs and southern Hama from Takfiri organizations, various regions of the central area of the country and other provinces are linked by road.

State media and activists say more than 27,000 civilians and gunmen have left the northern countryside of Homs in the past days, the latest in a string of capitulation deals by the rebels around the country.

Rebels still hold large swathes of northwest and southwest Syria that are not besieged because they border Turkey and Jordan, which have at times backed the insurgents and are guarantors of limited truces in those areas.

"The courageous armed forces, with support from allies, have completed the clearing of 1,200 square kilometers (463 square miles) in rural Northern Homs and Southern Hama, and have restored security to 65 villages and towns", said Brig.

A Syrian security officer told state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV police began deploying in northern rural Homs, restoring government control.

Hundreds of people gathered in the centre of the town of Talbiseh in Homs province to welcome the return of government security forces and attend a flag-raising ceremony on the main square.

In recent months government forces have made major advances around the capital, but are still battling IS fighters in southern Damascus.

Rebels were in control of northern rural Homs for years.

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