Two years into the siege of Homs, the Old City, the last neighborhood held by the rebels, has been evacuated today in a deal brokered by the UN and Iran. Most of the city had been retaken months ago, and the last holdouts were starving and out of the rebel supply lines.
Under the deal, the rebels agreed to hand over the Old City and flee north, into rebel-held territory. They agreed to give the military details about the booby traps set in the Old City as part of the deal to withdraw.
The civilians had all left the neighborhood back in February, in a deal negotiated during the Geneva II peace talks. Under that deal, those leaving couldn’t take weapons, and the military ran checks to make sure they weren’t rebels. This time, each rebel was allowed to take a rifle, and the busloads of rebels each took grenade launchers.
Homs had once been the center of the rebellion, but as the war has dragged on most of the rebel held territory is now in the north and east of the country, while everything from Homs to Damascus is held by the government.