UN to evacuate some 200 civilians of besieged Homs Friday, deliver aid Saturday
7 February 2014, 13:55
A promised aid delivery to besieged rebel-held areas of Homs will not take place until Saturday after an evacuation of civilians on Friday, the Syrian city's governor said. Coaches were set to enter the rebel enclave in late morning under UN supervision to bring out nearly 200 civilians who want to escape an army blockade that has lasted more than 600 days, governor Talal Barazi said in an interview.
'This morning at 6 am (0400 GMT), a team from the provincial government, the United Nations and the Red Crescent headed (to the rebel-held Old City) to oversee the departure of civilians and their transport to their chosen destinations,' Barazi said.
'According to our advice from the UN, the number of people expected to leave today (Friday) is nearly 200,' he said, adding that the operation was running at least two hours later than planned because of logistical hitches.
'It will take us another two hours or more before the first civilians begin coming out,' he said.
'Tomorrow (Saturday), the first consignment of food and other relief supplies will reach those in need in the Old City.'
Russian Foreign Ministry confirms Syrian sides' agreement on civilian evacuation from Homs
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich has confirmed that an agreement was reached between the Syrian government and opposition forces who are holding the Old City of Homs that civilians would be evacuated from the city and humanitarian supplies would be delivered there.
'Syria's government and opposition groups blocking the Old City in Homs have agreed that civilians, primarily women, elderly people and children, will be allowed to leave the city and humanitarian cargo will be delivered there, to Homs,' he told reporters.
UN welcomes reports that humanitarian pause agreed for Syria's Homs
The United Nations on Thursday welcomed reports that a humanitarian pause has been agreed for Syria's besieged city of Homs to allow the evacuation of civilians and for aid to be delivered, a UN spokesman said.
'The United Nations and humanitarian partners had pre-positioned food, medical and other basic supplies on the outskirts of Homs ready for immediate delivery as soon as the green light was given by the parties for safe passage,' spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement.
UN, Syria reach deal on civilian evacuation from areas of Homs - governor
The United Nations and Syria have reached a deal to allow civilians to leave areas of Homs under siege for more than 18 months, the city's governor said Thursday.
'The governor of Homs, Talal Barazi, told (state news agency) SANA that a deal has been secured with the United Nations, under which civilians will be guaranteed an exit from the Old City neighbourhoods very soon,' the agency reported.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said earlier on Thursday that an agreement to allow in humanitarian aid was also under discussion.
Voice of Russia, AFP, Reuters, Interfax
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