News / Middle East

UN to Continue Humanitarian Pause in Homs

Syrian Arab Red Crescent members in red uniforms help evacuate injured man on a bus out of the battleground city of Homs. This photo was released by the official Syrian news agency.
Syrian Arab Red Crescent members in red uniforms help evacuate injured man on a bus out of the battleground city of Homs. This photo was released by the official Syrian news agency.
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations says the Syrian government and opposition have agreed to extend a humanitarian pause in the beleaguered city of Homs for another three days

U.N. Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said in a statement she hopes the additional three-days will allow for the evacuation of more civilians and the delivery of additional urgently needed supplies.

The reprieve comes as the government and opposition resumed peace talks in Geneva.

Since Friday, humanitarian teams working with the local authorities, representatives of all sides and community leaders have evacuated more than 800 women, children, sick and elderly people from Homs and brought in food and medical supplies.

The United Nations said the besieged town has had little aid for nearly two years.

Aid workers under fire

The clearly-marked aid convoy came under gunfire and mortar shells were fired near it.  One driver was wounded. Amos said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that U.N. and Syrian Arab Red Crescent workers were deliberately targeted. 

She also condemned the deaths of 11 people during aid operations because, she said, the parties did not abide by the cease-fire.

Asked whether male residents of Homs were among those evacuated, U.N. Spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters a number of people who did not fit into the immediate category for evacuation are being looked after by U.N. protection staff to ensure they do not come to any harm.

“Clearly, we take this very seriously," he said  "If we are evacuating people we have a responsibility for all those who are being evacuated.”

Nesirky said the U.N. hopes the additional three-day pause might allow for the evacuation of a group of people in the city’s field hospital.

“And that would certainly include trying to help somewhere in the region of  30 people in what passes for a hospital inside Old Homs city, and they are in bad shape and need to be evacuated as soon as possible,” he said.

Deaths in Syria from civil war, as of February 10, 2014Deaths in Syria from civil war, as of February 10, 2014
x
Deaths in Syria from civil war, as of February 10, 2014
Deaths in Syria from civil war, as of February 10, 2014
The U.N. Security Council has been discussing a possible resolution demanding better humanitarian access.  On Thursday, Britain’s ambassador said it is still under discussion, but he expected it to be moving forward shortly.  Russia’s envoy has said his government is against the idea.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday that France is preparing a new draft U.N. Security Council resolution to help speed food and medicine to those in besieged areas.

Talks continue

Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses the media after a meeting at the Geneva Conference on Syria, at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 10, 2014.Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses the media after a meeting at the Geneva Conference on Syria, at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 10, 2014.
x
Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses the media after a meeting at the Geneva Conference on Syria, at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 10, 2014.
Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses the media after a meeting at the Geneva Conference on Syria, at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 10, 2014.
In Geneva, the government and opposition delegations resumed discussions after a week’s break in the talks, which are aimed at ending nearly three years of violence.

The United Nations said the mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, met first with the opposition delegation and later with the government delegation.

Discussions centered on questions relating to the cessation of violence and terrorism and the establishment of a transitional governing body in accordance with the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012.

Syrian opposition spokesman Monzer Akbik said during Monday's meeting with Brahimi, his side laid out their vision of a transitional government in Syria.

"We submitted also another paper talking about our vision to the political solution by transition to a transitional governing body, this is what Geneva communique says and the vision shows that a transitional governing body should be able, with the full authority, in a neutral environment, should be able to end the violence and take the country towards reconciliation and democracy," Akbik said.

A spokesman for Syria's opposition National Coalition, Louay al-Safi, also denounced what he said were the government's use of "barrel bombs," which the opposition says were responsible for the deaths of more than 1,800 people last week.

"It is not acceptable that the regime would send its own delegation to talk peace while it is killing our people in Syria," he said. "This must stop, we ask the international community to do something about it. "

Monday's talks follow an initial round last month that ended with little progress, but one that Brahimi called "a modest beginning" to build on.

Following the meeting with opposition delegates, Brahimi met with the Syrian government delegation but no afternoon talks were expected.

Also Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Islamist fighters killed at least 40 people Sunday in an attack on an Alawite village.  The monitoring group said the attack happened in Hama province, and that the dead included at least 20 civilians.

More than 130,000 people have been killed and 9 million forced from their homes since the conflict began in 2011.

  • Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai (left), who was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education, talks to Syrian refugee Mazoon Rakan, 16, about Mazoon's experience in the camp during her visit to the Zaatri refugee camp, in Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, Feb. 18, 2014. 
  • A Kurdish fighter from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) carries his son as he walks along a street, Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014. 
  • A man walks near a crater as smoke rises from a burning truck after what activists said were explosive barrels thrown by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, al-Inzarat district, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014. 
  • Civil defense members and civilians extinguish the fire from a burning truck after what activists said were explosive barrels thrown by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, al-Inzarat district, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • A civil defense worker puts out a fire after what activists said were explosive barrels thrown by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, al-Inzarat district, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014. 
  • Children run across a street to avoid snipers in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria Feb. 16, 2014.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter runs for cover from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo, Feb. 16, 2014. 
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter rests with his weapon in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo, Feb. 16, 2014. 
  • A boy holds his baby sister, who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Rescuers walk on the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo, Feb. 14, 2014.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
February 10, 2014 4:08 PM
It is sad for people who are suffering. it is so disgusting for people initiate that conflict and make life miserable for ordinary people. the imam and rich oil countries which they fuel that conflict by supplying money and arm for the rebel. those rebel are foreigner and they want to fight the jihad. they get money and woman to make their lives comfortable. again, it is not the United State business to interfere because this game will not be over . today in Syria. tomorrow in Egypt . next week in Pakistan .the religious madness has no end.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid