Violence in Syria Continues During Accord

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Residents of Homs, Syria, in March 2012. Photo: OCHA/Jutta Hinkkanen
Residents of Homs, Syria, in March 2012. Photo: OCHA/Jutta Hinkkanen
Residents of Homs, Syria, in March 2012. Photo: OCHA/Jutta Hinkkanen
Residents of Homs, Syria, in March 2012. Photo: OCHA/Jutta Hinkkanen

Brutal Violence in Syria Killing Hundreds

NEW YORK – International News – The evacuation of civilians in Syria has been marred by sporadic violence. “Although the team was shelled and fired upon, we managed to deliver 250 food parcels [and] 190 hygiene kits and chronic disease medicines,” stated the Syrian Red Cresent Relief in a media statement.

While much of the world’s attention is focused on Sochi Russia and the Winter Games, the violences across Syria is continuing. Heavy fighting was  reported in the Syrian eastern province of Deir Ez-zor.  Heavy fighting between the al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham against government forces resulted in at least twenty deaths.

The Syrian Observatory on Human Rights states, “In attacks against civilians in Syria, in particular aerial attacks with explosive-packed barrel bombs, over two hundred and fifty people, including seventy-six children have been killed in six days of such regime attacks on the city of Aleppo. The SOHR is an Non-Governmental-Organization (NGO) that focuses on hman rights issues.

When the first of 2,500 Syrians trapped by war in the Old City of Homs, who were without aid for nearly two years were evacuated under an agreed three-day accord, allowing people out and aid in, the United Nations called for immediate access to nearly 1.6 million others throughout the country who have been without regular food or medical supplies for many months.

Fighting in Syria Continues

United Nations Calls for Help

“I continue to call for the safe and voluntary evacuation of all civilians and for full access for humanitarian workers to help people caught in similar situations across Syria,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said in a statement, calling today’s operation “a breakthrough, and a small but important step towards compliance with international humanitarian law.”

More than 80 women, children and elderly were evacuated from the Old City of Homs, the first of the 500 families who have become a symbol of the horrors inflicted upon civilians by the civil war in which considerably more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions of others driven from their homes since the conflict erupted in March 2011 when originally peaceful protestors sought the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad.

The UN, often with relief convoys mere miles away from the civilians under siege, has long demanded that the warring parties grant full humanitarian access. But the sides refused to give the green light until yesterday when a so-called “humanitarian pause” was announced for Homs, where UN trucks have been on standby for weeks only 12 kilometres from the Old City, ready to deliver urgently needed food and medicines.

Ms. Amos said she remains in close contact with humanitarian teams on the ground, who are working with the local authorities, representatives of the parties and community leaders to evacuate more civilians and deliver aid in the next few days.

Those evacuated today were taken to the places of their choice, escorted by UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent staff.

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