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Over 1,370 people evacuated from Syria's Homs: UN

English.news.cn   2014-02-14 03:31:13

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- More than 1,370 people have so far been evacuated from Syria's embattled Old Homs City under a humanitarian pause since Friday, and the UN relief agency is delivering aid to the hard-to-reach areas in the war-torn Middle East country, a UN spokesman said Thursday.

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

"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 on Friday when sniper and other fire temporarily interrupted the process.

The UN spokesman 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 center on Wednesday and a further 70 on Thursday.

Valerie Amos, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said Wednesday that UN staff were on the ground at the transit center, keeping track of what is happening as people are being processed.

UN protection officers have been keeping track of the men who are questioned, the spokesman said, adding that it is imperative that no harm comes to them.

Regarding reports of an extension of the Homs ceasefire, Nesirky said that the United Nations has had no official communication regarding an extension of the ceasefire, and that UN teams continued to stay on the ground to negotiate for a sustained aid operation.

He said that the United Nations believes that around 2,000 people remain in Homs Old City. The UN teams have done a courageous job to get aid into the Old City of Homs and civilians out of it, he said, adding that there are many other such problems of access throughout the country.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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