Syrian civilians return to war-torn Homs after rebel pullout
Syrian families return to the Christian Hamidiyeh neighbourhood of Homs (File/AFP)
Thousands of Syrian residents have returned to war-torn Homs for the first time in two years after rebels pulled out of the city in a ceasefire deal with Assad’s regime, AP reports.
The landmark deal brought and end to months of fighting between opposition and Syrian troops, allowing some 2,000 rebels to evacuate the city safely.
Residents looked on at the sheer devastation of blown out buildings and destroyed streets where rubble replaced the spot their homes once stood, according to AP.
Men and women searched through the wreckage for clothes and belongings, even accusing rebels of looting their homes.
The last 300 rebels were granted safe passage out of Homs on Friday, handing over control to Syrian regime forces.
The withdrawal has been seen as a victory for Assad in a complicated civil war that erupted three years ago.
An estimated 150,000 people have been killed in the violence with thousands of others seeking refuge in neighboring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.