Syrian government forces seize last rebel enclave in Homs

  • Syrian government forces seize last rebel enclave in Homs

Syrian government forces seize last rebel enclave in Homs

The Syrian government says it has restored control over a large area held by opposition groups.

The militants and their relatives were evacuated from areas straddling the boundary between the provinces of Homs and Hama to Idlib province under a deal reached between the militant groups and the Syrian government.

The recapture of the Hajar al-Aswad district comes almost a month after government forces launched an offensive targeting a pocket held by ISIS south of Damascus.

Rastan and Talbiseh are the links between Homs and Hama and "the return of normal life to these areas is the return of peace and security and thus the return of economic and social capabilities", he added.

Units from the Syrian Army and other government forces have been looking to build on their impressive territorial gains in Damascus' East Ghouta region, via operation Damascus Steel, and are continuing to oust Daesh* terrorists from their remaining positions in south Damascus.

The rebel evacuation, which was under a Russian-mediated deal, is considered a great victory for Syrian government army due to the strategic location of the two cities.

The northern rural Homs deal came days after rebels cleared their last remaining strongholds around the capital Damascus.

The Syrian flag was also raised on the municipal buildings in both cities by the government law enforcement forces. They have moved to the opposition-controlled area in the north by Wednesday.

The government has yet to formally announce the recapture of the enclave, but a Syrian military officer told Syrian TV the government is now in control of the last rebel enclave in Homs after "overpowering terrorism". The deals were mediated by Russian Federation, the main ally of the Syrian government, which has deployed its military police in the evacuated areas.

A large part of northern and eastern Syria is controlled by US-backed Kurdish forces who also fought against Daesh but want a level of autonomy that the regime refuses.

"With the liberation of Rastan and Talbiseh and surrounding villages, the entire Homs Province, with all of its areas, has become safe without exceptions", Barazi said.

Around 221 pro-government fighters and 189 ISIS militants have been killed since fighting started on April 19, AFP said, citing the United Kingdom-based monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

This suggests the southern province, which is protected by a USA -backed de-escalation zone agreement, may be the next battleground in the Syrian conflict.