DAMASCUS, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- A total of 83 people, mostly women and children, were evacuated Friday from the rebel-held old Homs city, as part of an agreement concluded recently between the Syrian government and the UN to evacuate hundreds of trapped people there.
Six buses provided by the Syrian government, three UN vehicles and six Red Crescent ambulances were stand by at Deik al-Jin rendezvous point, just outside the old city, which has been besieged since almost two years ago, waiting to transport the civilians and provide help to those who need it.
Muslim and Christian clergymen along with representatives of local delegations were ready to receive the evacuees along with Homs governor, Talal Barazi, who expected the evacuation of as many as 200 people on Friday, however, the number hasn't reached his expectation. More people are expected to be leaving the old city within the next three days.
Most of the evacuees were women, children, and elderly people, many of whom suffer dire medical conditions.
Minister of Health Sa'ad Nayef said his ministry has prepared the hospitals to provide the evacuees with medical treatment and to vaccinate the evacuated children against polio.
The evacuation is a result of an agreement between the Syrian government and the UN. Media reports said that a truce between the rebels and the government troops went into effect Friday to facilitate the evacuation of afflicted civilians.
According to the agreement, civilians desirous of leaving will be taken into shelters set up and prepared by the government and food aid and medicine supply will be sent inside the old city for those wanting to stay in their homes.
The evacuation was also discussed between the delegations of the opposition Syrian National Coalition and the Syrian government during their talks in the Geneva II conference.
Yakoub al-Helo, the UN representative overseeing the agreement in Homs, told reporters in Homs that "more than 80 children, women and elderly people have managed to leave the old Homs city."
Al-Helo attributed the success of the agreement to the facilitation by both the government and the rebels inside the old city of Homs. He said that the aid rations will start entering the area on Saturday.
About 3,000 civilians and 4,000 rebels were trapped in the old quarter of Homs as the Syrian regular troops imposed a 20 month siege on the rebel-held area.
GENEVA, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The second round of Geneva II talks will resume on Monday next week, some ten days after the Syria's warring sides concluded with no concrete progress in their first round of negotiations, a UN spokeswomen said on Friday.
"The Syria talks will start on Monday morning," Corinne Momal-Vanian, the Spokeswoman for the United Nations in Geneva told a press conference. Full story