Victory Parade in Homs December 14, 2015 Articles 1734 By Judith Bello Source: The Deconstructed Globe When I visited Syria a year and a half ago, the Syrian city of Homs was largely under government control. A few days ago the government began evacuating the last of the militants from their enclave in Homs under a truce agreement brokered by the United Nations and Red Cross. The victory parade of the Syrian Arab Army was in distinct contrast to any victory parade of ISIS. The Gradual, Hard Won, Recovery of Syria The western press often denigrates victories of the Syrian Arab Army in recovering control of their country. This is not the first victory in Homs, but a significant step on the road to restoration. The Syrian government largely controlled the area in June 2014 when I was there as an election observer. Surprisingly (to me), people walked out of the rebel held areas to vote. Men danced in the street in Homs when the high tally for Bashar Assad was announced. In 2012, enough of the city was liberated for President Assad to walk down the street with his entourage and greet the people. This month a truce was negotiated allowing the last of the militants in Homs and their families to be resettled outside the area. According to NBC: Talal Barazi, governor of Homs, told Syria’s Sana news agency that some 720 people would be allowed to leave Waer district — 300 of them militants — during the first stage of the agreement brokered by the U.N. and the Red Cross. During a second stage, some 2,000 militants who wished to lay down their weapons and go back to their “normal lives” would be resettled, Sana reported. Some 70,000 civilians are believed to still live in Waer, which has been under siege since 2013. Amnesty and a Celebration of Peaceful Futures The Syrian government has made a number of truces with indigenous militants, either relocating them to areas still in conflict or allowing them amnesty if they will join the government forces. This truce, arranged between provincial officials and representatives of Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda in Syria) requires the fighters to hand over their weapons to the Syrian Arab Army. However, the will be resettled in Idlib where the SAA and the Al Nusra Front remain in conflict. But, that is a problem for tomorrow. Today, the city of Homs is will be free of weapons and war. People are already returning to their homes.