Thursday, 8 May 2014

Syrian rebel withdrawal from Homs

Hundreds of rebels were evacuated from their final stronghold in the central Syrian city of Homs, dubbed the capital of the revolution, on 7 May. The move came under a ceasefire deal struck last week between government forces and rebel fighters.

The overwhelming reaction amongst Syrian and foreign Twitter users was shock as photographs of the devastated city circulated online. @weddady said: “The images coming out of Homs look like the color version of Stalingrad in 1943”, hash-tagging the tweet with #BasharApocalypse. @yarooshkaa lamented that "The dream has gone" 

Opposition supporters tweeted under the Arabic hash-tag “Thank you heroes of Homs” and tried to spin the truce as a victory over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Lebanon's March the 14th alliance, which is supportive of the Syrian opposition, posted an article on their Facebook and Twitter platforms which was widely circulated. The article explained that the Free Syrian Army had achieved a symbolic victory by remaining in the besieged city for 38 months and the Assad regime had been unable to drive them out by force.

Supporters of rival opposition groups, notably those with links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), dismissed this view. @Lingers219 remarked: “First time I know that surrendering your land to the enemy and releasing its prisoners means a great victory".

Government backers, however, were quick to celebrate with the pro-regime Homs News Network posting on Facebook: "This is Homs. This is the Syrian Arab Army. Good morning freedom".

Other posts were more aggressive such as @Okeanos963 saying: "Same signs of savagery that took over my city Homs in 2011. Media in the west wants to call these savages 'Freedom fighters'."

Rebel fighters explained their position eloquently on posters on Twitter such as one circulated by @Zado00 which said: "By the God that that raised the heavens, the only reason we left is hunger, hunger, hunger. We will go to eat and then return"

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