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What can we learn from Homs?

Given the collapse of the Geneva process, and the Syrian government’s staying power, localized cease-fires may be the latest trend in the conflict.

People carry a wounded woman after an accidental explosion caused by leftover ordnance at Bustan al-Diwan, in old Homs City, May 10, 2014. Hundreds of residents return to Homs, after rebels left the city. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) TEMPLATE OUT - RTR3OKXD

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told Julian Pecquet this week that the negotiated exit by rebel forces from the Old City of Homs, which had been under siege by Syrian government forces, was a "huge victory" for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

That is one way to see it. Other ways might be as a victory for the people of Homs, who finally got some relief from a brutal siege, and as a possible model of the incremental, painstaking and localized diplomacy required to bring relief to Syrians in war zones, especially given the collapse of the Geneva process.

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