Hundreds of Syrians, some snapping photographs with their cellphones, wandered down paths carved out of rubble in the old quarters of Homs on Friday, getting their first glimpse of the horrendous destruction that two years of fighting inflicted on rebel-held parts of the city.

The scenes that greeted them were devastating: City blocks pounded into an apocalyptic vista of hollow facades of blown-out buildings. Dust everywhere. Streets strewn with rebar, shattered concrete bricks, toppled telephone poles, and the occasional charred, crumpled carcasses of cars.

Under a deal this week, the government assumed control of the old quarters, while about 2,000 rebel fighters were granted safe passage out. - AP