May 9 - Hundreds return to Homs, a city in shambles with one resident finding that her home is now ''only columns,'' after rebels left the city. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
They are coming home to Homs. Hundreds fill the streets after rebels left the central city as part of a deal with the government. The Governor declares that the the city is clear of guns and fighters. But it is a city in shambles. Homs is considered the cradle of Syrian uprising. Now the rebels are gone. For some, little has been left behind. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HAMIDIYA RESIDENT, SAHAR AL-NAJJAR, SAYING: "I could not enter my home through the door. I entered through a hole in the wall. Everything surrounding the house is damaged. The house has only columns." A church stands in ruins. The courtyard is barren. Icons bare the scars of war. A Greek Orthodox Bishop yearns for the past. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GREEK ORTHODOX METROPOLITAN BISHOP, GEORGE ABOU ZAKHEM, SAYING: "If such groups stay in the country, I don't think it will benefit the country. But if they leave the country, the country may get back to how it was." The fall of Syria's third largest city to government forces is a major blow to the opposition, and a boost for President Bashar al-Assad, weeks before his likely re-election.