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.
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.
3. The city has witnessed some of the fiercest fighting since unrest broke out in 2011.
4. The Syrian government used artillery and aerial bombardment on Homs to try and regain control of the city from opposition fighters.
5. Earlier this week, the opposition began withdrawing from the city as part of a ceasefire agreement with government forces.
6. The evacuation has taken part under United Nations supervision and has been seen as a major victory for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
7. The withdrawal marks the end of Assad’s siege of Homs, once called the capital of Syria’s revolution.
8. The siege has left huge areas of the city destroyed and reportedly thousands dead and wounded.
9. On Friday, some of those who fled the fighting returned.
10. The city has witnessed “apocalyptic destruction” during the unrest.
11. As the troops moved in to clear out explosives, hundreds of civilians began to discover what had happened to their homes.
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.”
13. Another unidentified woman said: “I came to check on my house, but I couldn’t find it.”
14. “I didn’t find a roof, I didn’t find walls.”
15. With the government now in control of Homs, many predict Assad will increase efforts to retake the Syrian city of Aleppo.
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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