Homs, (SANA) After waiting for over two years, people from Homs Old City began flocking to their hometown on Friday , where their joy over coming back is mixed with sadness over the destruction caused to the city.
Locals, some of whom gathered at Oum al-Zennar Church, while others checked on their homes and shops, asserted that they will rebuild everything that was damaged and destroyed.
Juliet Rahhal from al-Hamidiye neighborhood said that her home which was damaged by terrorism will be rebuilt, and that what happened to her home shows the barbaric nature of terrorists and their hatred of the Syrian people.
Ghada al-Akhras, also from al-Hamidiye, said that her happiness over returning to her home cannot be described, voicing determination to stay in it as of today despite the massive destruction it suffered.
Haya al-Rifai’e, a child, said that she was happy to return to her home that she loves, although the terrorists who entered it broke her toys and vandalized everything in.
Marwan Bacchus, a shop owner, said he was saddened by the looting and vandalism that left his shop in ruin, but he will begin repairing it immediately.
Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi said that the Old City is completely clear of gunmen, and that the process of repairing and clearing the streets began as soon as the last group of gunmen left, so that locals can return to their homes.
Al-Barazi also inspected the Jesuit Fathers Convent, where Father Francis van der Lugt was killed and where he was buried, Oum al-Zennar Church, and a number of shops and alleys, saying that the efforts will not focus on al-Waer area in order to resolve its status and make all of Homs clear of gunmen.
At Oum al-Zennar Church, chargé d’affaires of the Syriac Orthodox PAtriachate of Homs and Hama, Father Peter Qessis, said “today, after more than two days, we’re back again to our homes and our churches where we were raised and where we lived.”
He told SANA’s correspondent that the damage to the church surprised everyone, likening it to the devastation left behind by the Mongols and Tatars when they sacked Baghdad.
In turn, Father Zehri Khazaal said “the pure blood that was shed on this land will bring goodness and giving, so that Syria can return to being a land of peace and love at the hands of the Syrian Arab Army,” asserting that all that was destroyed in the church and the Old City will be rebuilt, and that the flocking of locals today is prove of this.
Director of Homs Endowment Department Issam al-Masri said that all hearts were saddened by the trail of destruction and the signs of barbarism left behind by terrorism.
Member of Homs Governorate Council Wahid Yezbek said that repair and maintenance team entered the Old City immediately after it was cleared of gunmen, and they are currently working to restore infrastructure.
Yezbek said that vital establishments and services will be restored, with the government working to realize this in record time.