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The New Arab

Protests erupt in pro-Syrian regime neighbourhood of Homs

Much of Homs has been destroyed by regime bombing [AFP]

Date of publication: 30 December, 2015

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A series of bomb blasts in regime-held Homs has sparked protests in a Alawite district of the city, as residents demand better security and the resignation of the governor.

Dozens of people in the Syrian city of Homs have taken to the streets to protest at the security situation in the city.

A series of bomb blasts claimed by the Islamic State group have rocked the regime-held city over the past few weeks, leaving dozens dead.

The bombs have targeted al-Zahra, an Alawite district of the city - the sect to which Bashar al-Assad's family belongs - and residents have been gathering at al-Raess roundabout to denounce the security situation, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Instability has dogged Homs since the early days of the uprising in 2011



Protesters also denounced the city's governor, Talal al-Barazi, calling him a "traitor" and demanding he be stripped of his position and brought to trial.

Although the protesters were keen to demonstrate their loyalty to the president, they also demanded that the government protect the neighbourhood.

Instability has dogged Homs since the early days of the uprising in 2011.

Early in December, a truce was signed between the regime and rebel fighters and residents of the last opposition-held district of the city, al-Waer.

They were allowed to evacuate the city and head to Idlib, while the regime regained full control of Homs for the first time since protests began in 2011.

A few days later and al-Zahra neighbourhood was hit by a bomb which killed at least 16 people. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.

Protests in regime-held areas have been rare, and have mostly been over issues of security by government loyalists.

All anti-regime demonstrations have been violently crushed, although Damascus appears to give some leeway to citizens it trusts, and particularly in Alawite areas.

There have been a number of reports that protests by supporters of the government have also taken place in Latakia, over issues of lawlessness and forced conscription. 

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