83 civilians evacuated from Syria’s Homs

83 civilians evacuated from Syria’s Homs
Sat Feb 8, 2014 17:23:05

Syria evacuated 83 civilians on Friday who had lived in the devastated city of Homs for months after the foreign-backed militants overran the city.

It is the first concrete result of talks launched two weeks ago to try to end the foreign-backed insurgency war in Syria. The peace talks will resume on Monday in Geneva.

Buses ferried dozens of weary-looking evacuees, accompanied by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, to a meeting point outside Homs where aid workers, soldiers and police were gathered. The World Food Program said many appeared malnourished.

"They were living on leaves and grass and olives and whatever they could find," WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said.

It marked the start of a planned three-day humanitarian ceasefire, but even as it took place, activists said they feared for the fate of those left behind.

"The United Nations can confirm that 83 people were evacuated from Old Homs City today," said UN spokesman Farhan Haq. "The people - women, children and the elderly - were then delivered to places of their choice, escorted by United Nations and Syrian Arab Red Crescent staff."

The WFP said it had trucks ready to take a month's supply of food on Saturday to an estimated 2,500 people trapped in the militant-held heart of the city.

"There are signs of malnutrition, for some of them it is very obvious," Byrs said. "Some said they have not eaten bread for five months.

Russia said a three-day ceasefire had been agreed in the city.

Syrian authorities had announced that evacuees would be given medical treatment and shelter, and residents of Old Homs who prefer to remain will be sent humanitarian aid.

Moscow hailed the Homs deal as a "landmark agreement."




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