In Homs, which has been dubbed "the capital of the revolution" in Syria, President Bashar Assad's forces have been advancing on rebel-held neighborhoods in the past 20 months, the (Beirut) Daily Star reported Thursday.
"What we fear is the regime taking control of what remains of the besieged areas," said Thaer, 25, an activist and former jeweler from the Khaldieh neighborhood. "If that happens the revolution will end, and we will have to forget about our families returning to our neighborhoods. The regime will be able, without much difficulty, to take control of the rest of Syria."
Still, rebels are defending Homs, despite the city being largely destroyed three years after the uprising-turned-civil war started.
"The revolutionaries are not defending rubble, they are defending what Homs represents," said Abul-Hareth, a local sheik.