Hundreds Of People Return To The Devastated City Of Homs

Residents of the Syrian city are returning after a two-year siege.

1. Hundreds of Syrians have begun returning to the city of Homs to witness the devastation caused by two years of fighting between government and opposition forces.

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2. This week the Syrian military regained control of the city, causing some of those who fled Homs during the bloody civil war to return to what remains of their homes.

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3. The city has witnessed some of the fiercest fighting since unrest broke out in 2011.

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4. The Syrian government used artillery and aerial bombardment on Homs to try and regain control of the city from opposition fighters.

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5. Earlier this week, the opposition began withdrawing from the city as part of a ceasefire agreement with government forces.

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6. The evacuation has taken part under United Nations supervision and has been seen as a major victory for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

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7. The withdrawal marks the end of Assad’s siege of Homs, once called the capital of Syria’s revolution.

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8. The siege has left huge areas of the city destroyed and reportedly thousands dead and wounded.

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9. On Friday, some of those who fled the fighting returned.

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10. The city has witnessed “apocalyptic destruction” during the unrest.

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11. As the troops moved in to clear out explosives, hundreds of civilians began to discover what had happened to their homes.

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12. On returning to Homs, 30-year-old Jaqueline Fawwas, told AFP: “I had seen on Facebook that my home had been destroyed, but I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to see it with my own eyes.”

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13. Another unidentified woman said: “I came to check on my house, but I couldn’t find it.”

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14. “I didn’t find a roof, I didn’t find walls.”

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15. With the government now in control of Homs, many predict Assad will increase efforts to retake the Syrian city of Aleppo.

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16. Syria is due to hold presidential elections next month, with Assad widely expected to win a third term in office.

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Richard James is the UK news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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