TRUCE, OR RECONCILIATION?: In a video published Monday, a rebel fighter in the Old City of Homs explains why he accepts a truce in his city but opposes a wider Syrian government proposal of a wider reconciliation agreement.
“I support the truce, but am against reconciliation,” says the rebel, who calls himself Abu Bassam, insisting that reconciling with the regime would represent shaking hands with “the one who murders our women and children.”
Public opinion has been split in Old Homs regarding the truce that was made in January to facilitate the evacuation of civilians and the entry of humanitarian aid into 13 rebel-held neighborhoods that had been under siege for roughly 20 months.
“We support a military solution,” Abu Bassam adds, “but we had to agree with the truce for the injured people.”
“The regime will send a delegation to Old Homs to talk with rebels about a truce on national reconciliation,” said Abu al-Harith, a native of Old Homs who has represented the area’s civilians in truce negotiations.
Speaking with Syria Direct on Monday, Abu al-Harith further explained that military leaders in Old Homs were split on the subject of whether to accept the regime’s proposal, which offers to let Free Syrian Army fighters form popular committees to defend their neighborhoods. Regime forces would refrain from entering the city and allow civilians to return to their homes, in addition to bringing back water and electricity to the blockaded neighborhoods. In return, FSA fighters would be required to surrender their heavy weapons, and those fighters not joining the popular committees would leave the city.
For its part, pro-regime daily al-Watan reported that regime units had destroyed a tunnel used by armed groups in Old Homs that stretches underneath the Bab al-Sibaa neighborhood adjacent to Old Homs; the two areas are separated by one street that has been under regime control since the regime took control of Bab al-Sibaa in 2012.