As Syrian Conflict Continues, City of Homs Sees Temporary Ceasefire
The Syrian conflict has continued, with reports of human rights violations and barrel bombings, despite initial peace efforts at the Geneva II conference and a potential continuation of these efforts upcoming — should both delegations decide to attend. So far, the Syrian government has confirmed its attendance at the Monday talks. And now, a temporary ceasefire has been called around the city of Homs so evacuations can take place.
According to the BBC, it’s estimated that as many as 3,000 civilians could be caught in Homs, and so far, buses have removed 16 individuals from the rebel-occupied Old City portion of Homs; 12 older civilians were taken to the Homs governor’s residence earlier. Syria’s state TV reports that 35 individuals in total have so far been evacuated, claiming that most were “children and elderly who had been used as human shields by terrorists.”
A BBC reporter noted that those those who have been evacuated have been fed and given medical checkups, but that they’ve alerted journalists to the fact that there are still many within the city who would like to be evacuated. “We hope this first step will succeed and will continue tomorrow and after tomorrow [Saturday], to ensure safe exit to all civilians who want to leave the Old City,” Talal Barazi, the Homs governor, said to BBC.
“It is foreseen that all children, women, men under age 55, as well as wounded people, can leave the combat zone without obstacle,” said Russia’s Foreign Ministry, according to Reuters, while the Syrian Arab Red Crescent aid group said that it believes 200 would leave the city.