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Daily News Analysis

Syrians gear up for presidential election as rebels retreat from Homs

Crescent International

The mercenaries' gift to the Syrian people: the pulverized city of Homs. Most parts of Syria have been left in ruins, thanks to financial and material support by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, among others, to the foreign mercenaries in Syria.

Damascus, Crescent-online
Friday May 09, 2014, 12:27 DST

The last of the foreign mercenaries holed up in Syria’s third largest city, Homs, made their retreat on May 8 under a UN brokered deal. They were given safe passage out of the centre of the city where they were surrounded by Syrian government forces for nearly two years.

While these mercenaries were retreating, they still continued to carry out bombings in the city. The mercenaries blew up a luxury hotel that had been used as an army-post in the heart of the city. At least 14 soldiers and pro-government militia were reported killed, according to Agency France Presse (AFP).

The provincial governor Talal Barazi said around 1,000 mercenaries had retreated but the last batch of 300 rebels were prevented from leaving because other rebels refused to allow food supplies to two besieged towns in Aleppo province. This was part of the deal to allow the rebels to leave.

Rebels were preventing supplies into Zahraa and Nabol, two predominantly Shi‘i inhabited towns. The deal was to allow 12 trucks; instead, the rebels limited supplies to two trucks only.

According to latest information, negotiations are ongoing and if the rebels fulfill their part of the agreement, the remainder of the mercenaries would be allowed to leave. The deal is being brokered by the UN and Iran’s ambassador to Syria.

There have been earlier deals in other parts of the country but this is the first time rebel fighters have retreated from an area in return for agreeing to release civilians held hostage by them and 30 soldiers they have held.

Among the civilians are 40 Alawite women and children and an Iranian woman.

Meanwhile Syrians are gearing up for presidential elections scheduled for June 3. In addition to the incumbent President Bashar al-Asad, two other candidates are running against him: Hassan bin Abdullah al-Nouri, a 54-year-old lawmaker from Damascus, and 43-year-old Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, a lawmaker from the northern city of Aleppo.

According to independent international observers, Asad enjoys wide support in the country primarily because of the atrocious behavior of foreign backed terrorists. Most people want stability and have realized that the uprising is foreign inspired and financed. They have seen their country destroyed by the terrorists.

There is, however, a question mark over whether elections will be possible in all parts of the country since there are still large swathes of territory especially in the north bordering Turkey that is still under rebel control.

Besides, the Americans too are gearing up their disruptive activities. Yesterday, Ahmed al-Jabra, head of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the foreign-created front organization, met US Secretary of State in Washington DC. He is also expected to meet President Obama and make another pitch for more lethal weapons.

The mercenaries that have flooded into Syria are financed by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. Reports from Pakistan say that some 600 mercenaries have gone to Syria from the country. This was a secret deal struck during the February visit of Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz to Pakistan.


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