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Activists claim looting by soldiers as dust settles in Old Homs

LAW AND DISORDER: Opposition activists charge that Syrian soldiers have […]

14 May 2014

LAW AND DISORDER: Opposition activists charge that Syrian soldiers have engaged in looting of Homs’s Old City this week as displaced residents begin returning to the 13 neighborhoods after a ceasefire agreement allowed rebel fighters to evacuate.

“Bashar’s thieving army,” reads the caption of a photograph posted by opposition activists purporting to show a Syrian soldier driving a motorcycle piled high with stolen household goods, including a blanket and a large fan.

“And this is the homeland’s army,” writes one commenter on the photo, which was posted Wednesday to an opposition Facebook page called Homs After the Return. The page publishes images showing the devastation in Old Homs following the government siege that lasted over 700 days.

The page has accrued more than 7,000 “likes” since it was launched on Monday.

We will steal together,” reads the caption of another photo, posted Tuesday by an opposition Facebook page that mocks Assad’s election season slogan of Sawa, meaning “Together” in Syrian colloquial Arabic.

Last week, hundreds of rebel fighters were transported, along with their light weaponry, from Old Homs to opposition-held territory in northern Homs province. The Syrian government took control of Old Homs’s 13 neighborhoods following a crippling siege that lasted nearly two years.

Residents are now returning to Old Homs, as government forces began demining the area.

Looting has emerged as a major issue in Syria’s three-year civil war, emerging not only in residences and shops but also at Syria’s historical and cultural sites. In March, the United Nations entreated both sides in the Syrian conflict to refrain from looting and destruction in order to “save Syria’s rich social mosaic and cultural heritage.”

Photo courtesy of Facebook page “Homs After the Return.”

-May 14, 2014

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