More residents evacuated from Homs in Syria

More residents evacuated from Homs in Syria
File photo of Homs in May last year.

Around 300 more people have been evacuated from besieged rebel-held neighbourhoods of Syria’s third-largest city, Homs, a Syrian Red Crescent official said.

Khaled Erksoussi, the Red Crescent’s head of operations, said the group was notified that a ceasefire in Homs that ended on Sunday has been extended “for a few days”.

Monday’s evacuations brought to around 1,000 the number of people brought out of Homs since Friday, when the truce began. The Red Crescent has also delivered some food aid into the districts, despite shelling, though none was taken in on Monday, Mr Erksoussi said.

Government forces have been besieging the rebel-held districts in the city for months, cutting off supplies. The truce to let in aid and let out women, children and the elderly was brokered by the UN.

The UN humanitarian chief welcomed news that the Syrian government and opposition have agreed to a three-day extension of ``the humanitarian pause'' in besieged neighbourhoods in Homs, which will hopefully allow the evacuation of more civilians and delivery of much-needed additional aid.

Valerie Amos said in a statement that since February 7 humanitarian teams working with local authorities and representatives of all sides “in extremely dangerous circumstances” have evacuated more than 800 people from Old Homs and brought food and medical supplies to people who have had little aid for nearly two years.

Ms Amos said “it is absolutely unacceptable” that 11 people lost their lives needlessly because the parties did not maintain their ceasefire during the initial three-day pause.

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