Assad strengthens hold on Syria's big cities as rebel fighters evacuate

Assad strengthens hold in Syria

HOMS, Syria -- As the U.S. tries to put pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, there are reminders across Syria how much pressure Assad can put on his enemies. A destroyed neighborhood in Homs was once a rebel stronghold, and now some in the opposition are giving up, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane.

They don't use the word "surrender," but that's what it is.
On Tuesday, after years of battling Assad's Syrian army, opposition fighters stood face-to-face with their sworn enemies who ushered them onto buses bound for a main opposition area in Syria's north. Some of the rebels didn't have much to say.

"He don't speak with anybody," said Baher al Kayel of Syria's Red Crescent. "You feel him sad and he don't want to share his story with us."
Since Monday, more than 2,300 rebels and their families have left the Al Waar district of Homs in a deal that evacuates rebels and strengthen Assad's hold on Syria's big cities.
Some carried weapons, chickens – or whatever they had left.
In their own videos, one young man said, "We were forced out. Don't think we left on our own will. God willing, we shall come back."
The buses from Homs pulled out under the watchful eye of Assad, but it's hardly an end to the story. Syria is a country with no shortage of front lines and competing interests.
Assad's forces continue to pound rebel pockets in his own cities, and another group led by Kurds is taking aim at the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, preparing an assault. U.S.-led coalition airstrikes are paving the way for that advance.

Meanwhile, peace talks are getting underway today in Geneva, though Assad has dismissed them in a TV interview as "merely a meeting for the media."

Also, the U.S. said the Syrian government is covering up mass murders at a prison where thousands are believed to have been killed. They released these satellite images they say shows a crematorium just north of Damascus used to burn the bodies. The State Department said as many as 50 detainees are killed every day.