Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 8th 2014 Contents A46
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 8, 2014
BEIRUT—Exhausted and worn out from
a year-long siege, hundreds of Syrian
rebels yesterday left their last remain-
ing bastions in the heart of the central
city of Homs under a ceasefire deal
with government forces, opposition
activists and the city’s governor said.
The exit of some 1,200 fighters and
civilians will mark a de-facto end of
the rebellion in the battered city, which
was one of the first places to rise up
against President Bashar Assad’s rule,
earning its nickname as “the capital of
Gaining full control of Syria’s third
largest city is a major win for Assad
on multiple levels. Militarily, it solidifies
the government hold on a swath of ter-
ritory in central Syria, linking the capital
Damascus with government strongholds
along the coast and giving a staging
ground to advance against rebel territory
further north. Politically, gains on the
ground boost Assad’s hold on power
as he seeks to add a further claim of
legitimacy in presidential elections set
for June 3.
By early afternoon yesterday, more
than 400 fighters had boarded several
batches of buses that departed from a
police command centre on the edge of
Homs’ rebel-held areas, heading north,
opposition activists said. Many of the
rebels were wounded, and it was unclear
how many civilians were among them.
An activist who goes by the name
of Abu Yassin al-Homsi said all fighters
and any remaining civilians would leave
the city before the end of the day.
The rebels were being taken a few
miles north to the rebel held towns of
Talbiseh and al-Dar al-Kabira on the
northern edge of Homs province—a
short drive away. (AP)
SEOUL—Three weeks after South
Korea’s ferry tragedy, the government
yesterday said it miscounted the
number of survivors, the latest of
many missteps that have eroded the
nation’s confidence in its leaders.
Coast guard chief Kim Suk-kyoon
said only 172 people survived the April
16 sinking of the ferry Sewol—not 174,
as the government had been saying
since April 18.
That change raises the number of
people feared dead to 304.
So far 269 bodies have been recov-
ered, and divers are searching for 35
More than 80 per cent of the dead
are students from a single high school
near Seoul who were on a trip to
southern Jeju island. (AP)
Worn out rebels leave
strongholds in Homs
GAUHATI—Six bodies have been
recovered from a river after the worst
ethnic violence in India’s remote
northeast in two years, raising the
death toll to 39, police said yesterday.
Ten people are still missing.
The bodies were found in the Bar-
peta district of Assam state. Two
other bodies were found Tuesday.
Barpeta is next to Baksa district,
where police said gunmen from the
Bodo tribe, which has long accused
Muslims of entering India illegally
from neighbouring Bangladesh, went
on a rampage, setting Muslim homes
ablaze and firing indiscriminately at
Authorities have said the attackers
belonged to a faction of the National
Democratic Front of Bodoland, which
has been fighting for a separate
homeland for the ethnic Bodo people
for decades. The rebel group denies
The Bodos are an indigenous tribe
in Assam state, making up 10 per
cent of the state’s 33 million people.
6 more bodies found after ethnic violence
S Korea lowers survivor count in ferry mishap
Vladimir Putin said Russia has pulled
back its troops from the Ukrainian
border and called for Sunday’s refer-
endum on autonomy in Ukraine’s
restive east to be postponed.
There were no immediate signs, how-
ever, that either move was truly hap-
pening or that they would cool
Ukraine’s worst crisis in decades. NATO
and Washington said they saw no evi-
dence of a Russian pullback and the
pro-Russia insurgents behind the ref-
erendum haven’t agreed to go along
with Putin’s proposal.
In a Moscow meeting with Swiss
President Didier Burkhalter, Putin said
Russian troops have been pulled back
to their training grounds and locations
for “regular exercises,” but didn’t specify
whether those locations were in areas
near its border with Ukraine.
Many had feared that Sunday’s vote
would be a flashpoint for further vio-
lence between the rebels and Ukrainian
troops. Insurgents were calling the ballot
a vote on giving regions more auton-
omy—but Kiev authorities feared it
could be a pretext for separatists or
those who want the region to join Rus-
sia. Many Donetsk residents appear
eager to go ahead with the vote.
“That Putin’s personal opinion. He’s
a very wise man, but we have decided
to do things our own way: To become
the Donetsk Republic,” said Ludmila
Radchenko, 52, standing in a city square.
Putin: Troops have pulled
back from Ukraine border
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