A man waves behind the window of a bus on February 7, 2014, during the evacuation of civilians from the Syrian city of Homs.
A man waves behind the window of a bus on February 7, 2014, during the evacuation of civilians from the Syrian city of Homs.
News   /   Syrian Crisis

More than 80 civilians were evacuated from the Syrian city of Homs today under a humanitarian truce.

The launch of the operation was to be followed on Saturday by a delivery of aid.

The UN humanitarian coordinator in Syria "Yacoub Hillo" said "UN teams have pre-positioned food, medical and other basic supplies for immediate delivery as soon as the first group of civilians are out and we hope to send this aid on Saturday morning".

"This has been a lengthy negotiation process and we commend all involved for reaching this milestone today", Hillo, who oversaw the launch, said in a statement.

The Homs evacuation is part of a deal brokered by the UN between the two sides after months of negotiations that will also see desperately needed aid delivered.

The United Nations said 83 civilians were evacuated under a three-day "humanitarian pause".

UN spokesman "Farhan Haq" said "the people who were able to leave were women, children and the elderly", noting "they were then delivered to the places of their choice escorted by UN and Syrian Red Crescent staff".

The opposition observatory said five of those evacuated were children, while 17 were women.

UN World Food Programme staffers in blue vests attended the evacuation, and a vehicle with the logo of the refugee agency UNHCR was parked nearby.

The government agreed to observe a "humanitarian pause" and opposition activists in Homs said they had agreed to a ceasefire.

The plight of the trapped civilians was on the agenda of peace talks in Switzerland last month that broke up without any agreement on access for relief supplies.

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