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217 more evacuated from Syria`s Homs: Governor

AFP | Last Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 02:34

Damascus: More than 200 civilians were evacuated today from besieged rebel-held districts in the heart of Syria`s third largest city Homs, Governor Talal al-Barazi told AFP.

"Two hundred and seventeen civilians have been evacuated today from Homs Old City. The operation went well and smoothly," Barazi said.

The latest evacuations bring the total number of people given safe passage out of the war-ravaged districts to more than 1,400 since Friday.

Aid workers also distributed 4,700 kilogrammes of flour and 190 food parcels in the besieged districts Wednesday, according to the Syrian Red Crescent`s Khaled Erksoussi.
Some 3,000 people had been trapped by an army siege of a handful of rebel-held areas in the heart of Homs since June 2012, surviving for months on little more than olives and wild plants.

A humanitarian operation under UN auspices for the evacuation of civilians and distribution of aid was suspended yesterday because of "logistical" difficulties, Barazi said.

The governor meanwhile said 111 men who had been detained for questioning as they left the besieged districts have now been released.

He said authorities are still holding 34 others whose "status is being examined."

The United Nations had said the authorities detained 336 boys and men aged between 15 and 55, and that only 42 had been set free.

The deal between rebels and the regime allowing the evacuation made no mention of whether military-age men could leave.

In a statement yesterday, the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights said it is "essential" that boys and men in detention "do not come to any harm."

First Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 02:34

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