Most Syrian rebels fighting government forces pulled out of the Baba Amro district of Homs on Thursday, said activists, as snow blanketed the besieged city.
A few fighters stayed behind to cover what supporters say is a tactical withdrawal by their comrades.
Syrian state TV showed images of the destruction caused by the 26-day siege. Many of those residents interviewed blamed rebels for leaving their neighbourhood in near ruin.
Government forces have been bombarding Baba Amro, a symbol of the 11-month revolt against President Bashar al Assad, since February 4th.
Observers say the snow is just adding to residents’ misery. There is a shortage of food, fuel, power, water and telephone links.
“This bakery is the only one making bread,” said one local resident of Homs’ Qusair district.
“If I come and say I want 10 pieces of bread, they will just give me five. Why? Their supplies of flour are running short.”
Fuel prices have also soared eight fold.