Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

In Syria opened to traffic on the highway Damascus-HOMS

In Syria opened to traffic on the highway Damascus-HOMS

Hundreds of people gathered in the centre of the town of Talbiseh in Homs province to welcome the return of government security forces and attend a flag-raising ceremony on the main square.

The government has yet to formally announce the recapture of the enclave, but a Syrian military officer told Syrian TV the government is now in control of the last rebel enclave in Homs after "overpowering terrorism".

The rebels have agreed to surrender the northern countryside of Homs province to the government under a deal reached in early May.

Nearby towns and villages in the areas of Talbiseh and al-Hula were also evacuated, according to the official SANA news agency and the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Syrian police entered a rebel pocket between the cities of Homs and Hama on Tuesday as the last batch of opposition fighters and their families readied to evacuate the area, the SOHR reported.

"As of today, there is not one gunman left, no weapons left in the whole of Homs province", the province's governor, Talal Barazai, told AFP in Rastan.

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The governor vowed that the Damascus-Hama highway would reopen "in the coming days".

Syria has previously accused Israel of waging a proxy war through its allied militias, with Syrian President Bashar Assad saying the Israeli authorities were siding with terrorists "whether logistically, or through direct raids on our army".

Rebels still hold large swathes of northwest and southwest Syria that are not besieged because they border Turkey and Jordan, which have at times backed the insurgents and are guarantors of limited truces in those areas.

Since February, the Syrian army, backed by Russian Federation, has been engaged in a major push to rid Damascus and the surrounding areas of terrorist groups.

After opponents of the Syrian regime were expelled from Eastern Guta, the road was under the control of government troops in its entirety.

In April, Syrian forces managed to retake the Eastern Ghouta and Eastern Qalamoun regions near the capital.

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