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Fire ceased in Syria’s Homs

February 07, 2014, 14:55 UTC+3 BEIRUT
However, the evacuation of peaceful civilians from Homs has been delayed for technical reasons
1 pages in this article
© ITAR-TASS/EPA/STR

BEIRUT, February 07. /ITAR-TASS/. Fire has been ceased in the Syrian city of Homs for the next 72 hours.

Preparations for a humanitarian operation are being conducted at the approaches of old quarters of Homs located 164 kilometers from Damascus. Peaceful civilians (about 200 people) are ready for being evacuated within hours. “These are children, women and old men. Medical assistance will be provided to everyone. Those who wish will be able to leave the city,” Homs province’s governor Talal al-Barazi said.

The next step will be to deliver humanitarian aid to those who prefer to stay in the old city, he said.

Earlier, the U.N. World Food Program reported that trucks were ready to carry foodstuffs to people, who had been blocked in certain parts of the city. A total of 500 family food packets and 500 bags of flour will be distributed. This will be enough for 2,500 people within a month. UNICEF has collected packets for emergency medical aid, poliomyelitis vaccines, child’s clothes and water disinfection tablets.

Infographics Syrian refugee crisis Syrian refugee crisis
Map of Syria and neighboring countries locating area of conflict and refugee camps, includes number of refugees by country. ITAR-TASS infographics
According to the U.N. reports, due to military actions between the government army and armed groups humanitarian aid has not been delivered to encircled quarters within two years.

Most people left Al Hamidia, Al Karabis and Al Khalidiya in 2012. Now 1,500 people are staying the areas, Syrian mass media report. The opposition said there was twice as much. The authorities say armed extremists use the population as “a human shield”.

SANA News Agency reports that the Homs governor and U.N. Coordinator in Syria Jacob al-Helo agreed to conduct an operation. “All who want to leave the city will be provided humanitarian contribution - a shelter has been granted and foodstuffs have been given,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Homs governor told television that militants, who surrendered arms voluntarily, would be able to be amnestied. Thus, regional observers do not rule out that humanitarian aid can lead to long reconciliation and settle the situation in Homs.

The operation’s success will create a positive climate before the second round of talks in Geneva due to start February 10.

The evacuation of peaceful civilians from Homs has been delayed for technical reasons, Al Mayadeen TV Channel reports.

The TV outlet says the operation will start at 12:00 GMT.

The area of Jurat al-Shiyah is determined as a collecting station where the passage for a humanitarian convoy is being cleared up. Foodstuffs and medications inside the quarters, which are controlled by the armed opposition, are planning to be delivered to on Saturday, February 8.

As-Safir daily writes that at least 500-700 militants are being hided in the Old Town’s labyrinths. They will be able to leave Homs through a corridor in the northern sector. There have been no reports from Damascus yet.

In the meantime, SANA News Agency said over 190 rebels had surrendered arms in Ryan, Homs’ suburbs. They agreed with the president’s amnesty and pledged “not to pose a threat to security”.

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