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Syria: Over 600 civilians evacuated from Homs

10th Feb 2014

DAMASCUS, (Xinhua): A total of 611 civilians were evacuated from the rebel-held old city of Homs in central Syria on Sunday, as part of a recently concluded deal between the UN and the Syrian government, Talal Barazi, the governor of Homs, said.

The governor told the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV that the mass evacuation of civilians is ongoing.

Barazi said that most of the evacuees are women, children and old men, who will all receive proper care and medical treatment, adding the evacuation process could continue for the next three days.

Meanwhile, 60 food parcels were delivered on Sunday to civilians inside the old city by UN vehicles, a day after government-owned busloads of aid rations were shot at when they attempted to enter the besieged area.

Delivering aid rations and evacuating civilians from the old city was part of an agreement concluded between the Syrian government and the UN, under which a truce between the government troops and the rebels went into effect on Friday.

However, the truce was reportedly breached by the rebel fighters in the old city, after they allegedly fired on civilians and aid convoys, state media reported.

State media pointed to divisions among the various rebel groups in Syria as the cause of the violence, while activist groups accused the government troops of firing the mortars to hinder the aid delivery.

About 2,500 people are believed to be trapped in the rebel-held old city, part of which has been under siege by government troops since June 2012.

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