The world has forgotten about Homs, the third largest city of Syria whose ancient origins date back over 2100 years when it was known as Emesa. The city is home to the tombs of the Companions Khalid Ibn al-Walid and Abdullah Ibn Umar, who are buried in the Khalid Ibn al-Walid Mosque. It is also the home of one of the oldest churches in the world, the 1900 year old Umm Zenar Church.
The old part of the city is full of historical mosques and churches and other monumental buildings. With the exception of only a few neighbourhood, the entire city has been gravely damaged by bombardments and shelling while entire parts of it have been completely flattened and destroyed. As a result of this massive violence being unleashed upon the city as it was besieged by Assad’s forces, most of the residents of this city of 700.000 have fled. Those who continue to live in the Alawite areas do so under the tyranny of Assad’s army and Shabbiha and on top of the lives and property of the rest of the city. Those who are still living in the wastelands try to survive the regime’s bombardments and shelling, stormings of neighbourhoods, snipers, looting and massacres.
The following footage is from yesterday, it gives an overview of parts of the city, and shows how the damaged Khalid Ibn al-Walid Mosque is still standing amidst massive destruction in the Khalidiye neighbourhood and elsewhere. These kind of images you normally only see in black and white on WW2 documentaries.
This is the Qasur neighbourhood, from October 4:
This is caused not only by months of shelling and bombardments, but also the now infamous Barrel Bombs. This is how dropping one looks like:
Khalidiye, on October 4:
A few days ago another massively increased bombardment campaign was unleashed upon the city. One wonders, what is left to be destroyed? The city is gone. Assad may hold on to it thinking he will eventually win, or eventually let it go as is bound to be the case. Either way, there are no use for any of these buildings or the remaining people that live there as far as he is concerned. If the regime regains control of Homs, everything living or dead will be bulldozed. Roubles, Rials and Yuan will build modern apartments and malls, and loyalists from the countrysides brought in to occupy them. A new city is born, as what was set to motion in Baba Amr, the first Homsi neighbourhood to face Assad’s “reform” as well as other parts of the country. And if not, then it better remain a wasteland that servers as a border for his Alawite state.