*ancient church in Homs, torched and destroyed by the terrorists as they leave the Old City.
From Lilly Martin, in Latakia, Syria:
updated: you can see in the distance behind the media a huge black cloud of smoke, and that is where the terrorists are burning down their headquarters as they leave it. Also, they said they will not be giving up any people who had been kidnapped, but they are giving a map of where they buried their bodies (Al Mayadeen reported).
Today, the beginning of the safe passage for terrorists out of the “Old City” of Homs has begun. The UN is there to watch everything, they are coordinating the process.
However, there is a core unit of western and foreign officers and agents who are part of the terrorists being released.
The Syrian gov’t will not disclose their names, ranks or countries. This group will be personally escorted to a path which will take them to Lebanon. They will exit Syria safely. I am not sure whether we will ever know their names, ranks and home nation. Most people tell me to just forget it, but I would like to know who they are. In fact, it is this small core group of Non-Syrians, and Non-Arabs who probably have made the deal with the UN for their safe exit. If they were just Syrian ‘freedom fighters’ (so called), the UN and international community could have cared less.
Syria victory: Militants start evacuation from Homs, Syria 24 English, May 7, 2014
An operation to evacuate about 2,000 militants and their families from rebel-held areas of the Syrian city of Homs has started under the supervision of the UN.
On Wednesday, buses began leaving the Old City under a deal brokered by the United Nations.
At least three buses have arrived in rebel-held territory to the north, carrying a number of armed fighters.
“Three buses have left, carrying 120 people in total, a mixture of wounded and non-wounded civilians and fighters,” Abul Hareth al-Khalidi, a rebel negotiator, said.
Homs’ governor also confirmed the launch of the evacuation.
It marks the end of any militant presence in the heart of the major city once dubbed the capital of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Reports say the militants were sad and bitter as they failed to win against the government troops after two years in the city.
The government’s forces followed a tactic against the militants that some Syrian army officers called “surrender or starve”.
The siege of the Old City was tightened in recent months with intense shelling and air strikes.
The deal was brokered by the UN – which is also supervising the buses now heading into the Old City – and was agreed only after many months of negotiation.
The deal reportedly also involves easing a siege of two predominantly Shia Muslim towns in the north loyal to President Assad.
Reports say the armed groups within the Old City were deeply divided about whether to accept a ceasefire.
The al-Nusra Front, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda, wanted to try to break the siege with a series of suicide bombings. It attempted to do this, but failed, and al-Nusra terrorists will be on the evacuation buses too.
One more district of Homs is still holding out, al-Wair on the periphery.
Militants there have accepted a ceasefire and will leave, too, as soon as arrangements are made
from Sana News: Homs Governor to SANA reporter: The first batch of gunmen started to get out of the Old City of Homs
from Sana News: Gunmen to start leaving Old City of Homs today, official says
Gunmen’s departure from the neighborhoods of the Old City of Homs is expected to start today, Governor of Homs Talal al-Barazi announced Wednesday.
In a statement to SANA, al Barazi said all necessary arrangements have been done to get the process started, adding that it is likely that the process of settlement and reconciliation will begin simultaneously with the gunmen’s departure so as to have Homs city cleared of arms and gunmen.
Work is underway for the operation to include all neighborhoods of Homs and not just the Old City, the Governor said.
After the gunmen are out, he added, the army units will embark on searching operations to detect and dismantle explosive devices and mines and remove barricades.