Aid workers return to Syria rebel enclave

Updated - May 18, 2016 07:42 am IST

Published - February 12, 2014 05:19 pm IST - Cairo

Aid workers Wednesday returned to the besieged Old City of Homs in central Syria, on the last day of a six-day truce to bring in humanitarian aid.

Syrian Red Crescent and U.N. workers were also expected to continue evacuating civilians.

A video posted online by opposition activists, which DPA has not been able to verify, showed family groups rushing past barricades towards white U.N. vehicles to the sound of falling shells.

A spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Melissa Felming, said that some 1,115 people had been evacuated since the operation started on Friday.

Some 2,500 and 3,000 were believed to be trapped in the area before Friday.

Homs has a strategic position at the junction between the Damascus-Aleppo highway and the road west to the government’s coastal strongholds.

An early stronghold of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, it was mostly pacified by government forces in mid-2012, but rebels remained holed up in the Old City and adjoining areas.

The resumed aid operation comes as government and opposition delegations continued peace talks in Geneva.

The second round of talks, which started on Monday, has made little progress so far.

The government insists that the main issue must be combating what it terms terrorism, while the opposition demands steps to establish a transitional governing body as provided for in the framework for the talks agreed by sponsoring powers Russia and the U.S.

Russia, meanwhile, said that it will veto a proposed UN Security Council resolution on the humanitarian situation in Syria if it is not amended.

“In its present form it is unacceptable for us and we will not let it pass,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters in Geneva late Tuesday, according to Russian news agencies.

Gatilov argued that the draft resolution was “politicized and its sole purpose is... (as) a basis for the use of force against the Syrian government if it does not fulfil certain demands.” The Russian diplomat added that China supported the Russia position.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.