Thousands of Syrians enter Homs after rebels leave

first_imgHOMS, Syria — Thousands of Syrians returned to war-battered parts of the central city of Homs Saturday, many making plans to move back as opposition activists expressed bitterness over the rebels’ surrender of their strongholds to pro-government forces and vowed they will return.The homecoming came as rival jihadi factions fought deadly battles to the east in an oil-rich region bordering Iraq, the latest clashes between groups trying to overthrow the central government in Damascus.Residents from Homs’ smashed ancient quarters scavenged what they could from their homes, mostly clothes, dusty mattresses and some burned gas canisters, carrying them away in plastic bags and trolleys. “My house was completely destroyed and burnt, but I found some photos,” said Sarmad Mousa, 49, a resident of the old Hamidiyeh district. “They will remain a memory for me of the beautiful days we had here.” Some accused rebels of looting and burning their homes. Smaller crowds made the journey Friday.Other residents were already making plans to stay in their homes, sweeping them clear of rubble and broken glass. “God willing, we will sleep in our homes tonight, not tomorrow,” one man told Lebanese television station al-Mayadeen. “Even if the homes aren’t ready, we are going to help each other build our homes,” he said.last_img read more