BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has taken control of several towns in the northern countryside of the Homs Governorate this week, following the departure of many rebels from this large pocket in central Syria.

According to a military source in Damascus, the Syrian Army is now in control of 230 square kilometers of territory and at least 14 towns that were controlled by the Islamist rebels.

Among the surrendered localities in northern Homs are the following: Qantra, Dalak, Quneitrat, Taloul Hamr, Daminah, Abu Hammam, Deir Foul, Khirbat Marar, Asaleh, Zafaraneh, Hawsh Hajjo, Ayn Hussein, and Bregheth.

More towns are expected to be handed over to the Syrian military in the coming days, as evacuations continue in the northern countryside of the Homs Governorate.

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Willing Conscience

This is the news I like to read. Putin and Assad’s negotiating and diplomatic skills might be lost or lacking when it comes to other world leaders and their dealings with them, but they sure do know how to sweet talk the rebels into just about anything they want, even allowing themselves to be driven to a bomb range and be dropped off there.