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Homs, Syria (From The Most Devastated Town And Back To Normal Life)

Homs was the city where the war in Syria started for full in March 2011, when the so-called moderate opposition killed 10 Syrian Army soldiers at a checkpoint and captured another 19 soldiers.

Government forces began an artillery bombardment of the old city of Homs on the night of 3 February 2012.

The protests started in the southern city of Daraa on March the 15th. But it was in Homs where it escalated and went from protests to a war.

main square in Homs Syria

The main square in Homs is cleaned up.

Watch This 3min long video I made from my trip to Syria.

Around 70% of Homs was destroyed before the city was back under Government control. Homs is the city where you will see the most destruction in Syria, but rebuilding has started and even the old Souq (market) that was completely destroyed during some of the heaviest battles during the war, is very soon ready to reopen. A few shops are up and running already, and all others are soon to follow.

Old City of Homs Souq in Syria

The Old Homs Souq is almost ready for reopening

Old Souq in Homs Syria

Some parts of the Old Souq are already open after aid from UN

Homs sqouk

Some shops are already open.

Syrian war destruction in homs

Nature Taking over the broken part of Homs.

Syrian war destruction in homs

A waving and cheering taxi driver.

Syrian war destruction in homs

One of the areas with almost complete destruction.

Syrian war destruction in homs

There´s cleanup happening all over the destroyed areas.

Syrian war destruction in homs

Families have started moving back to rebuild their homes

kids in homs broken home syria

The Kids still have smiles on their faces.

kids syrian war homs

Kids are the biggest victims of every war.

Normal life in Homs is returning back to normal with the city getting rebuild fast;

Kids are back to schools, traditional restaurants are open, locals have started to move back and rebuild their homes, and shashlik stands are filling the street with the great smell of bbq.

bbq on the street in Homs Syria

Street BBQs are back on the streets.

local kids in Syria

Two young girls waiting for their dad at the Shaslki stand.

But Homs is also the city where you will hear the most disturbing tales from the locals, as for months they had to live under rebels rules.
The stories contain, rapes, decapitations, abductions of their kids, and in general things that make even the worst horror movie seem like a romantic date movie.

And one of the places with a lot of sorrow is the primary school where close to 50 school kids got killed by a double suicide bomb, the first bomb went off at the school’s gate, then when people rushed to help a second bomb went off at the Akrameh al-Makhzumi school.

The school is today completely rebuilt and up and running, and the bomb remains, and damage of the school is positively being used by the students in an art project for a better future.

school children in Homs syria

School children in Homs.

young syrian student homs

Young student

young syrian kids
Syrian kids
Syrian young kids

Boys and girls in the same classes.

Education in Syria is completely free and compulsory from the age of 6 to 15 (1st to 9th grade). English and French are taught from 1st grade, and for the young students, I met their English skill was very impressive and far ahead of the students back in my home country Norway.
If parents deny their kids education, they you be sentenced to 6 months in jail.

syrian female teacher homs

A beautiful female teacher.

Syrian woman

A beautiful teacher.

Syrian teacher

Another beautiful teacher.

Syrian teachers in Homs

The Teachers Lounge.

While the outskirts of Homs is still almost completely devastated so has the center of Homs returned so somewhat normal life again, with locals enjoying shopping, shisha at street cafes, young couples holding hands, and young men watching European football on the big screens. Even I did some shopping here, I bought two nice shirts.

girls in Syria

A beautiful girl on the streets of Homs.

Syrian girl

Another pretty girl.

streets of homs syria
nightlife of homs syria

So you can see that even the most devastated city in Syria is returning to normal, do you still believe mainstream media claiming that Syria is a country in Ruins??

Before the war, Homs was the starting point to the amazing Crusader Castle Krak des Chevaliers from the 11th century and The Valley Of Christians home to the famous Saint Georgie Monastery and the villages surrounding the valley being home to more than 200 000 Christians in Syria.  I did visit both Krak des Chevaliers and the Valley of Christians during my visit to Syria.

Travel Guide To Krak des Chevaliers & The Valley Of Christians In Syria
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Nicolai Steinø

Tuesday 14th of April 2020

Hi Christian, I would like to ask your permission to use one of your photos for a research paper on post-conflict reconstruction (PCR). My case is the city of Homs, and I would like to use the photo above captioned "One of the areas with almost complete destruction" to give an example of the destruction in the city. I am an architectural researcher from Aalborg University, Denmark. My area of specialisation is parametric urban design and my current focus is PCR in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Regards and thank you in advance.

Christian L.

Thursday 16th of April 2020

Hello Nicolai. Ja det kan du:)

Adnad

Sunday 17th of December 2017

Hi Christian,

I am a Homsi Syrian (Homsi means I'm from Homs) and I really like how you present my city and the rest of Syria. I miss Homs so much. However, you have some wrong info about the city. Homs was destroyed by the Syrian regime, not by the rebels. Even some of my relatives were killed, and some of our properties there have been destroyed or damaged. The rebels started only as defenders of peaceful demonstrations, when the regime was attacking and killing innocent people and kids just because they were protesting in peaceful demonstrations, and it killed people who didn't protest as well. Random killing! By the way, rebels doesn't mean terrorists, and they are not all Muslims.. Some of the rebels were Christians! I wonder if you've visited Saint Mary Church in Homs, where there is only a small wall separating a mosque and a church. Saint Mary Church, which is a very important church in Christianity as far as I know, was damaged by the regime as well. ISIS is a different thing than rebels or the Free Syrian Army, too.

Of course, I wish this whole revolution hadn't started, but it's also oppressing to say that the rebels, who are the Homsi people themselves, destroyed Homs. Hope you don't get me wrong.

I was planning to soon get back to live in my hometown Homs, and you actually encouraged me! Thanks for that.

Warm regards

Petra Znasikova

Wednesday 17th of April 2019

Christian, can you maybe comment this comment? Adnad - cross the fingers for your home return. Maybe you are already back?

Unusualtravelblog

Tuesday 12th of December 2017

Thanks Christian for the quick response. This actually gives me a little bit of hope (: Hoping for a random magical mail appearing in my mailbox. I guess it also depends which embassy!

Christian L.

Wednesday 13th of December 2017

It might depend on the embassy yes. And of course the situation in the country, I got told while in Syria but the visa will get easier to get from 2018 and that a few European tour companies will start bringing tourist back in next year.

Unusualtravelblog

Monday 11th of December 2017

Hi there,

I have sent a request for a visa to the embassy of Syria in Belgium last month. Still no reply... Did they confirm your visa request, did you get any reply before getting your visa at the end ? I really hope they'll grant me a visa by the end of january...

Kind regards

Christian L.

Monday 11th of December 2017

Heeey. I didn't hear anything from the embassy before it was approved, nothing at all. Then suddenly one day I checked my Email and yeah visa was approved after almost 10weeks of waiting. So you just have to be patient and wait, everyone else I know that received their visa also didn't get any emails from the approval email.

Christian

Oliver

Sunday 10th of December 2017

Hi Chris! Great travel report. How do you get there to Syria? Via Jordan? By bus or taxi? Are there any entrance restictions? Do you need a Visa? Did you contact the syrian embassy before you started? I am thinking about going there as well. At least to get a glimpse to Damascus. I visited Jordan 5 years ago and was really fascinated by the country. Did you hire a translator or can you speak Arab?

Best regards Oliver

Christian L.

Monday 11th of December 2017

Heey Oliver. Sorry for the late reply.

I took a shared taxi from Beirut to my hotel in Damascus, your hotel in Beirut can arrange it, It´s 100 Usd for a private taxi, or 44usd if you want to take a shared one. I saw buses on the way but I have no idea where to take it from. Yes you NEED a visa, it takes up to 10weeks to receive and it requires some paperwork. When you receive the visa will you have no restrictions, you can travel about everywhere that´s under government control except to the frontline. You are completely free to walk around Damascus and other places. There´s no need for a translator, almost "everyone" speaks English or French.

Even shopkeepers, taxi drivers at least understand basic English and every restaurant I went to had English menus. School Children in Syria learn English, French & Arabic from 1st grade so you will be surprised how easy it is to speak with locals in Syria.