News / Middle East

Elderly, Children Evacuated from Blockaded Syrian City

Civilians carry their belongings as they walk towards a meeting point to be evacuated from a besieged area of Homs, Syria, Feb. 7, 2014.
Civilians carry their belongings as they walk towards a meeting point to be evacuated from a besieged area of Homs, Syria, Feb. 7, 2014.
VOA News
The United Nations says 83 Syrian civilians, including the elderly and children, were evacuated from rebel-held areas of the city of Homs Friday.

Aid workers escorted frail old men and women draped in blankets as part of a three-day humanitarian pause to let civilians out and help in.

A year-long blockade of Homs by Syrian government forces has created severe food shortages. U.N. relief coordinator Valerie Amos says many sick and wounded civilians remain trapped. She is calling on all sides to grant humanitarian workers full access to Homs and other besieged Syrian cities.

Watch related video report by VOA's Al Pessin

Syria Talks Resume But Won’t Be Easieri
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February 07, 2014 11:44 AM
Syrian government and opposition negotiators are to meet for a second round of talks in Geneva starting Monday, but there is little expectation of any breakthrough that could end the nearly three-year-long civil war. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.

Russia said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government made an agreement with the United Nations Thursday for a three-day cease-fire to allow aid into Homs.

Also Friday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad said the government will take part in the next round of peace talks with the opposition. The new talks are set to open Monday.

The talks, organized by the United States and Russia, have so far made little progress at ending Syria's civil war. More than 130,000 people have been killed and 9 million forced from their homes since the conflict began in 2011.  

In Washington, U.S. Homeland Security director Jeh Johnson said Syria has become a matter of homeland security.

Johnson said Friday that Americans, Canadians, and Europeans are heading to Syria to fight. He said extremists are also trying to recruit Westerners, indoctrinate them, and send them back to their home countries on extremist missions.

Johnson and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder were in Poland this week for talks with counterparts from six European countries. Johnson says Syria was the number one topic of conversation.


Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

  • A man waves his arms at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in the al-Shaar district, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
  • A man walks at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in the al-Shaar district, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
  • A boy sits next to a trolley containing belongings at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
  • Civilians carry their belongings as they walk at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, a passageway separating the Bustan al-Qasr district, which is under the rebels' control and the Al-Masharqa district, an area controlled by the Assad regime, Aleppo, Feb.  9, 2014. 
  • People wheel a sick man on a makeshift stretcher at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
  • Boys walk along a damaged street in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria, Feb. 6, 2014.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter sits amid the rubble of damaged buildings in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria, Feb. 6, 2014.
  • People sit on the top of a truck at the Syrian border crossing of Bab al-Hawa, at the Syrian-Turkish border, Feb. 6, 2014.
  • Fighters from the Amjad al-Islam brigades stand near an improvised artillery weapon in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter holds a teapot as he runs to avoid snipers in Deir al-Zor, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • People walk along a street as men ride on a motorcycle in Deir al-Zor, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters take cover during the launch of a homemade rocket towards forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad near the Justice Palace and the Citadel of Aleppo, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • A man pulls a trolley as a woman walks behind at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, a passageway separating Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr, which is under the rebels' control and Al-Masharqa neighborhood, an area controlled by the regime, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows a U.N. relief worker giving food supplies to a Palestinian woman in a wheelchair at the gate of the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp on the southern edge of Damascus, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows residents of the besieged Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp carrying their belongings as they flee the camp on the southern edge of Damascus, Feb. 4, 2014.

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by: Nicholas Akuamoah-Boateng from: Kumasi- Ghana
February 08, 2014 12:41 AM
I am saddened everyday when I watch TV and see buildings, human beings animals being destroyed because of power of one man and the rest of the world doing nothing about it!!! Oh! My God! Are we christians? Are we Moslems as we claim? America and his allies, NATO , where are you? Why were you swift on Libya ,etc? Don't you feel sad when you sit down at the dinning table with your wives and children watch innocent children, women, the elderly animals going hungry? Where is the Pope? Where are the Moslem leaders? Just one man killing 130,000 innocent lives, displacing about nine million. Why? Great Britain, are you not great anymore for you to allow your citizen to marry such an animal? I need answers please! As I am writing, I am watching Homs on tv and it is HORRIBLE!!!

by: Jethromayham from: USA
February 07, 2014 1:55 PM
It is obvious once civilian are gone the Syrian govt will flat Homs or drop a load of chemicals. They calculate nobody will squawk ecause they are attending the Geneva conference II.

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