The city of Homs has finally been retaken by the Syrian Arab Army. The scenes of devastation left behind by nearly 3 years of fighting are surreal, but residents – who have begun returning in small numbers – vow to rebuild the city. Fighting concluded when the Syrian government granted a ceasefire to encircled militants occupying the city’s center.
An estimated 2,000 militants evacuated the city to rural positions where government forces will be able to engage them. Lacking the cover Homs’ urban terrain provided them, and without the well entrenched positions and logistical lines they had established throughout fighting that began in 2011, militants stand little chance of continuing their campaign of violence, let alone returning to Homs.
Indeed, Homs – considered by the West who has sponsored the militants, as the “capital of the revolution” – is a symbol of what is to come across the rest of Syria. Similar ceasefires will alleviate urban centers that had been invaded and occupied by militants – many of whom are not even Syrian – and push the fighting into Syria’s rural regions where those that insist on continuing hostilities will be systematically eliminated by Syrian security forces.
Homs is the third largest city in Syria – its liberation from foreign militants is a significant turn in the still ongoing conflict. Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, still suffers under heavily contested occupation by foreign militants emanating from and receiving support by NATO-member Turkey.
As Syria approaches the end of wide-scale conflict that began in 2011 under the cover of US-engineered political destabilization and foreign-sponsored terrorism, it will be important for the Syrian government to recognize political opposition who had refrained from subversion and violence to address grievances and help move Syria forward and beyond attempts to divide and destroy the nation. However, attempts by the West to claim Syria is “divided” are patently false. Had Syria been truly divided, it is unlikely the government in Damascus would have weathered the nation-wide conflict, which included several sorties by Israeli warplanes directly on Damascus, as well as high-level assassinations, economic warfare, and a steady stream of billions of dollars in arms and equipment over Syria’s borders in the hands of foreign terrorists, facilitated by NATO and its regional partners.