Opposition says lost Homs due to lack of backing

“Our main problem is that while the regime receives support from Iran and other countries, we are not provided with arms support,” said Sieda, a prominent Kurdish figure in the Syrian opposition coalition

Opposition says lost Homs due to lack of backing

World Bulletin/News Desk

The seizure of the Khalidiya neighborhood in Homs, which had been in the hands of opposition forces for more than a year, by the Syrian regime marks a strategic loss for the opposition, which maintained that the main reason for the fall of the neighborhood was due to the lack of international support.

Syrian authorities said on Monday that the army had regained full control over an opposition-controlled district of Homs after weeks of fighting in the central city which has been at the heart of the two-year uprising against embattled President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

“Units of our noble army have completely restored security and stability to Khalidiya,” state news agency SANA said.

The capture of Khalidiya consolidates a series of recent gains of the regime on the battlefield -- a situation that shows that the tide seems to have turned in favor of Assad's forces, supported by key ally Iran and Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement.

Homs is regarded as the center of the anti-Assad struggle and it holds strategic value because it serves as a crossroads: The main highway from Damascus to the north as well as the coastal region, which is a stronghold of Assad's Alawite sect, runs through Homs, Syria's third-largest city.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group, however, denied that regime forces had seized the entire district of Khalidiya, saying there was still scattered fighting in southern areas of the neighborhood.

“The regime has made some progress in recent months but it is still not the end of our struggle. We will continue to fight and will not take steps back from our position,” Abdulbaset Sieda, a prominent Kurdish figure in the Syrian opposition coalition, told Today's Zaman.

Regime troops launched a sweeping offensive to retake opposition-held areas of Homs a month ago. The fall of Khalidiya to regime troops would be the second major setback to opposition in central Syria in as many months.

In early June, regime forces captured the strategic town of Qusair in Homs province near the border with Lebanon. Troops have also captured the town of Talkalakh, another border town in the province.

“Our main problem is that while the regime receives support from Iran and other countries, we are not provided with arms support. From the very beginning, Khalidiya was considered by the regime as a strategic location. The regime may have plans of dividing the city between Sunnis and Alawites in the future,” said Sieda.

The Observatory has said that regime troops are backed by members of Hezbollah, which did not acknowledge if its members are fighting in Khalidiya. However, Hezbollah played a major role in a battle in Qusair and lost scores of men there.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Temmuz 2013, 11:58
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