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UN Welcomes Humanitarian Agreement for Syrian City



The United Nations is welcoming reports from Syria that there is an agreement on a plan to allow civilians to leave some areas of the besieged city of Homs.

A U.N. spokesman says Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos has welcomed word of a "humanitarian pause" that would allow civilians to leave the old city of Homs and allow relief workers to deliver aid to the city.

The spokesman said Thursday the U.N. and its humanitarian partners have pre-positioned food, medicine and other supplies nearby and are ready to deliver the aid as soon as they receive an assurance of safe passage.

The U.N. spokesman could not confirm the agreement, which was announced earlier Thursday in Syrian state media reports. The spokesman told VOA that discussions on a deal had been ongoing.

The old city of Homs has been cut off from humanitarian aid for more than a year.

The country's SANA news agency says the government and the U.N. have reached an agreement that will allow some residents to leave the old city.

The news agency says the deal covers "innocent civilians" -- including women, children, the elderly and injured people. The status of men was not immediately clear.



Syrian government and opposition delegates discussed the status of civilians in Homs during recent peace talks in Geneva.

More than 130,000 people have been killed and 9.5 million displaced since Syria's civil war broke out in 2011.

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