More than 300 fighters in various armed factions of the Syrian opposition in Homs have agreed to surrender, coming under the protection of the interfaith People's Committee 'Mussalaha' and continue an 'unarmed political opposition.' This is the result of a historic agreement promoted by the movement 'Mussalaha' ('Reconciliation'), 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 armed fighters 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 forces of the Syrian army. Overall, it is estimated that there are more than 1,000 armed fighters in that area of the old city.
The Committee of 'Mussalaha' in Homs, which includes the Syrian Catholic priest Fr Michel Naaman, and other Muslim religious leaders and several civil society leaders and community representatives, after a lengthy mediation effort, managed to achieve something which was considered unthinkable until Monday.
"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," Fr Naaman told Fides.
The Committee of 'Mussalaha' will be the guarantor of their safety and freedom, in an atmosphere that wants to encourage confrontation, dialogue and reconciliation. The organisation says it hopes many other fighters can follow this example and come under the tutelage of the Committee for reconciliation.
The main problem, note sources of Fides, is represented now by the presence of more than 100 armed men who are not Syrian and are present in the area and who have no intention or possibility to qualify for this delicate operation of 'internal Syrian dialogue.'
They are demanding the involvement of the Red Cross. Representatives of that organisation are being approached for a possible intervention in the mediation.