July 29, 2013
Mohammad, 52, was a former officer who defected from the Syrian army 30 years ago and now lives in a neighboring country. He is from the Khalidiya district of Homs, and tells Nuha Shabaan why he believes the loss of the key rebel-held district does not necessarily mean the pending fall of Homs.
Q: How are humanitarian conditions in Homs?
A: There is a big lack that everyone knows about in all the necessities of daily life from food to medical supplies and there are a lot of wounded inside the besieged areas of Homs.
The UN was able to deliver some food shipments to Homs but it’s not enough because of the huge number of internally displaced people from dangerous areas in the city, most of them are now in al-Wa’ar neighborhood.
If this military operation continues, we will witness a humanitarian disaster and massacres will happen that Syrian haven’t seen before because the density of people there.
Q: Is the opposition trying to deliver weapons into Homs?
A: They actually delivered a huge amount of weapons to Syria and the arrival of weapons continues, but sadly there are not enough to defend the city from tanks, fighter jets and missiles. When we talk about weapons reaching the opposition, we are talking about light weapons, not like those the regime has. To tell the truth there were also some weapons received that weren’t used because of internal conflicts between the brigades and multiple loyalties for these brigades.
Q: Have we reached the point that Homs has fallen?
A: This revolution might lose the battle, but will not lose not the war. The work of the resistance continues, al-Khalidiya and the old neighborhoods of Homs are proving that. Baba Amro has fallen but the revolution has not; al-Qusayr has fallen but the revolution hasn’t.
Q: What is the significance of the regime capturing the Khalid bin al-Waleed mosque?
A: Khalid bin al-Waleed is the one who conquered the Persians [in the seventh century]. That’s why it’s a revenge tactic. They not only destroyed the mosque but everything related to the prophet’s companions and the Arab heritage. Homs is known as the city of al-Waleed. The regime thinks that if they destroy the mosque, they will destroy Homs.
The victory the regime is talking about is a scorched-earth policy that uses Scud missiles and sarin gas. The regime wasn’t late but couldn’t enter until now because of the strong opposition in Homs.