Less than 24 hours after the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was claiming to be holding the Syrian military back from a “massacre” in the Baba Amro neighborhood of Homs, leaders of the group are now saying that they are withdrawing from the city entirely.
Though rebels say this is only a “tactical retreat,” it seems a significant gain for the Assad regime, as parts of Homs have been contested for months and it has been the site of some of the fiercest battles in the still relatively young civil war.
If calm returns to Homs it could also be a major diplomatic victory for the regime, as the close proximity of anti-Assad protesters and battles has led the rebels to claim enormous civilian death tolls and sparked international outcry.
Where this leaves the rebels is unclear, though they still enjoy considerable international support and have promised to escalate attacks across the nation, saying they will strike everywhere from Daraa (along the southern border with Jordan) to Idlib (near Turkey in the far north).
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