Reports that Homs is about to fall to the Assad regime are premature, according to sources inside Syria.

On Thursday, The Times cited unnamed “diplomats and opposition sources” as saying that Homs would fall within days, with insurgent forces preparing to “sacrifice” the city to the Assad regime.

The Times writes [article behind a paywall]:

The fall of Homs will represent a strategic and propaganda victory for the Assad regime, strengthening its grip on the route linking Damascus to the Mediterranean coast. The opposition rebels apparently have chosen to abandon Homs in order to consolidate their hold on other key areas in the north and around Damascus.

A trusted EA source says, however, that Homs “won’t fall today or tomorrow”, noting that the Free Syrian Army forces in the city have high morale, while the regime — despite its continued strikes — are taking losses.

Despite this, the source notes that the situation on the ground is shifting very rapidly as the battle rages on.

“I get different signals from Homs. It’s not always possible to differentiate between optimism and emotions versus actual success on the front lines. The situation is very unstable. On most points of attack the FSA still holds its ground but there are some losses of territory too,” the source told EA.

One area where the FSA has seen losses of territory has been in the Al Khalidiya neighborhood in Homs where, EA’s source says, Assad forces assisted by Hezbollah fighters are focussing efforts on taking the mosque by all means.

“It’s not always a static front line,” the source said, adding that control over some parts of the city shifts from hour to hour.

Another problem for the insurgents is the limited number of opposition fighters. Ammunition and food supplies are also dwindling because supply lines have been severely disrupted in the intense fighting of the past days.

“The fact is that the people of Homs can’t fight without help forever, and at the moment there’s no help in sight, at least not much,” the source concluded.

Meanwhile, ITV News on Friday quotes an FSA fighter from the Al Khalidaya neighborhood, Abu al Feda, as saying that insurgents were not preparing to sacrifice the city.

“This recent siege can only be described as hysterical and mad, there are so many rockets raining down that sometimes we hear them banging into each other as they fall down.

“We have had to move around 800 families to another neighbourhood to keep them safe.

“Men here will fight until the end even with a basic and limited supply of ammo and weapons.

“The situation is desperate now but we won’t leave Homs to fall into the hands of a murderous regime while we are still breathing.”