A 5-minute explanation of why the final departure of insurgents from Homs is not a sign of “victory” for the Assad regime in Syria’s conflict:
Homs was lost to Assad’s forces more than two years ago. It was only a matter of time before the final insurgents would have to leave or die of starvation as well as in the air attacks, yet even in that desperate position, the Syrian forces — after months of effort — could not take those districts with a final ground assault.
This will be a symbolic victory for the regime, but it will be presented in almost complete isolation from what is happening elsewhere at the same time in Syria. Consider the southwest, where insurgents control a large area of territory. Consider in the northwest, where insurgents continue to make advances in Idlib Province and — importantly — where they consider to press regime forces in Aleppo. Consider that insurgents hold, and will continue to hold, most of northern and eastern Syria. And consider that insurgents, despite sustained regime efforts, have pushed back the Syrian military’s efforts to take territory near Damascus.
All of this does not add up to a counter-narrative that the insurgents are winning. It merely reinforces that this is a “patchwork war”.
The media will move on from Homs. The question is whether they will notice the rest of the country.