Syrian opposition in Homs seeks to lay down arms

More than 300 combatants from the various armed factions of the Syrian opposition in Homs have agreed to surrender, to come under the protection of the interfaith People's Committee "Mussalaha" and continue an "unarmed political opposition."

This is the result of an agreement promoted by the Mussalaha (reconciliation) movement, born spontaneously from Syrian civil society, which is gaining the confidence of all the warring parties, families, clans, communities, sectors of the government and armed opposition. The more than 300 armed are mostly young people who are barricaded in several streets in the old town of Homs such as Khalidiye, Jouret al shiyah, Qarabis, Hamidiyah, Bustan Diwan and surrounding areas, still besieged by the Syrian army. Overall, it is estimated that the armed fighters in that area of the old city are more than 1,000.

The Mussalaha Committee in Homs, which includes Syrian Catholic priest Fr. Michel Naaman, and leaders from the Muslim community and civil society, after a lengthy mediation effort, managed to achieve something unthinkable until yesterday, opined an article by the Fides news service. "The 300 young people ready to lay down arms are young teenagers who had decided to fight, due to the spirit and ideals of the revolution. Among them are relatives, children, friends, people that are part of Mussalaha and this has greatly facilitated dialogue and agreement. They are the children of the Syrian people," the priest of Homs told Fides.

Young people had warranties that the Syrian army, on laying down its arms, will be free and will be able to continue a "non-violent political opposition." The Committee of "Mussalaha" will be the guarantor of their safety and freedom, in an atmosphere that wants to encourage confrontation, dialogue and reconciliation. It is not excluded, the "Mussalaha" leaders noted, that many other fighters can follow this example and come under the tutelage of the Committee for reconciliation.

The main problem, note sources, is posed by the 100 non-Syrian armed men who are present in the area and who have no intention of engaging in the internal Syrian dialogue. According to Fides, they are demanding the involvement of the International Red Cross.



Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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