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Over 1,300 people evacuated from Syria's Homs: United Nations

Friday, 14 February 2014 - 8:57am IST | Agency: IANS

More than 1,300 people have so far been evacuated from Syria's embattled Old Homs City under a humanitarian pause since Friday, a UN spokesperson said Thursday.

"Food, medical supplies and essential household and hygiene items have been delivered for 2,500 people, with enough food for one month," UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said at a daily briefing here, quoting the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Xinhua reported.

"Aid was also delivered to Bloudan in rural Damascus with food and medicines for 5,000 people, including for people with chronic diseases, in the last two days," he said.

"Bloudan is only 45 km from Damascus, but it is in a hard-to-reach area because of insecurity."

The humanitarian team reported that it took four hours to travel the last 15 km, and more than 20 checkpoints had to be negotiated, he said.

The humanitarian pause, agreed upon between Damascus and the UN, allows children and the elderly out and aid into the old city of Homs, where more than 2,500 Syrians have been trapped without outside aid for nearly two years.

The truce, which is the first of its kind, had barely begun with the evacuation of 83 people Friday when sniper and other fire temporarily interrupted the process.

The UN spokesperson said, of the 1,370 evacuees from the Old City of Homs, 430 men aged between 15 and 55 were being processed and so far 181 were released from the transit centre Wednesday and a further 70 Thursday.

Regarding reports of an extension of the Homs ceasefire, Nesirky said the UN has had no official communication regarding an extension of the ceasefire. He added that the UN believes that around 2,000 people remain in Homs Old City.


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