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Syrian forces retake control of Homs as rebels exit

Syrian forces retake control of Homs as rebels exit
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The Syrian rebel presence in Homs has come to an end.

The city, once known as the capital of the revolution and peaceful pro-democracy protests, is now under the control of Syrian troops as part of a deal between the insurgents and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

It follows months of gains by the army, backed by its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.

Rebels cheered as they left, but the fall of Syria’s third largest city is a major blow to the opposition and a boost for Assad weeks before his likely re-election.

Yacoub al-Helou, the UN’s humanitarian affairs coordinator, praised both sides for maintaining the ceasefire.

After two years of bloody combat, there is little left but ruins that epitomise Syria’s brutal civil war.

Although much of the area has been cleared of insurgents, the army is not expected to move into the Old City until it has been checked for explosives.