March 1, 2012
Officials said the soldiers took control of the Baba Amr district of Homs on Thursday after they defeated the last pockets of armed gangs in the neighborhood and forced them to flee the area.
The main anti-government group, the Free Syrian Army confirmed the news, but claimed to have pulled out of the district in a “tactical” move.
The takeover comes two days after the Syrian armed gangs admitted that they have received weapons from the United States and France.
Earlier a number of Western and Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, had supported the idea of sending weapons and financial aid to armed groups in Syria, who have been fighting against the government since March last year.
The move came despite efforts made by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad government for implementing reforms with the aim of ending unrest which has been plaguing the country for several months.
The Syrian government has recently endorsed a new draft constitution that was approved by nearly 90 percent of eligible voters in a Sunday referendum.
The new constitution excludes Article 8, which declared the ruling Baath Party as the “leader of the state and society,” and also establishes a multiparty system in Syria and limits the presidential term to two seven-year periods.
Despite Western and Arab pressure on Assad’s government to step down, Russia has continued calling for the resolution of Syrian crisis through dialogue.
At a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov reaffirmed that Russian diplomacy has been working and will continue to work to resolve the Syrian crisis.
“Today it is clear that aims to instill democracy through force are doomed to disaster and achieve the opposite. What is important today is that we do not allow for a full scale civil war in Syria,” Galitov said.