PYRRHIC VICTORY: A banner draped over a building in the embattled city of Homs reads: “Together we will rebuild it” as presidential elections were held on Tuesday.
“The elections are held in such a big way in Homs because of the high number of regime supporters in the city on one hand and intense military pressure,” Noor, a resident of the Ghouta neighborhood in Homs, told Syria Direct Tuesday.
The Assad regime now exercises complete control over the city following the rebels surrender of it in early May. Recently, a state affiliated Syrian TV reporter called Homs “the crown jewel of all voting centers.”
“The voting is taking place in a number of centers inside the city and around it, except for some of the rural suburbs,” Noor said.
Considered by the opposition as the “capital of the revolution,” activists who left Homs in April cited the regime’s use of infiltrators and paranoia to bring down the city after months of steadfastness in the face of bombings and starvation.
The banner hangs across from the Khalid bin Walid mosque in the Jurat a-Shiyah neighborhood near the center of the city.
The mosque, a center of early anti-government protests, became a symbol of regime brutality for pro-opposition Syrians when government forces fired on a funeral march departing from the mosque in July 2011. The regime also considered its capture a priority, as it lies on the border of formerly rebel-controlled districts.
Ahmed a-Jarba, president of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, called for Syrians to avoid participation in “this theatrical parody of elections and stay in their homes.”
Meanwhile, the state-affiliated General Organization of Radio and Television in Syria announced the “number of election boxes in Homs reached 1,015 located across 732 [voting] centers.”
The election takes place over one day from seven in the morning until seven in the evening.
Nearby, opposition forces lead by Jabhat a-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army captured the village of Um Sharshuh in the countryside of Homs Tuesday. The village is considered a strategic location because of its position overlooking the city. The village was used to bomb Homs during the regime’s siege.
-June 3, 2014
Photo courtesy of Sam Dagher.
For more from Syria Direct, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.