HOMS GROUND ZERO: Syrian state television reports from inside the embattled Khalidiya neighborhood, airing pictures Saturday of the severely damaged Khalid Bin al-Walid Mosque. “The army is fully control of the area of Khalid Bin al-Walid Mosque, as well as detached explosive bombs that were planted by rebels in buildings around the mosque,” said state television reporter Moeen Dorgham.
The rubble and ruins is a result of the nearly month-long battle between rebels and regime forces in Homs.
The landmark Khalid Bin al-Walid Mosque is important to Sunni Muslims, as it is named after the general who defeated the Persian army in the 7th century.
“Syrian army forces advanced along two lines, reaching Bait Allo Park by the northern axis while the Khalid Bin al-Walid Mosque was liberated by the western axis,” explained a field officer interviewed for the state television report.
The fall of Khalidiya is a setback for the rebels who considered the neighborhood an early and important opposition stronghold.
“Bashar Assad seeks to add Homs to the coast in case he fails in Geneva,” said media activist Abu Jaafar al-Mugarbel. “That will prolong his existence and the civil war will last even longer.”
“If the rebels had enough weapons, the scales would have tipped differently, ” said the opposition supporter.