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Under fire, relief convoy delivers aid in Homs
February 9, 2014, 6:02 am

Some 83 women, children, elderly and wounded civilians were evacuated from Homs on Friday [Xinhua]

Some 83 women, children, elderly and wounded civilians were evacuated from Homs on Friday [Xinhua]

A Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) relief convoy managed to deliver aid to civilians trapped in the besieged city of Homs despite coming under mortar fire on Saturday, a statement from the organisation said.

“Although the team was shelled and fired upon we managed to deliver 250 food parcels (and) 190 hygiene kits and chronic disease medicines,” the statement said.

The attack on the aid convoy marred the third day of a UN-led relief operation to evacuate civilians who have been caught in the crossfire as the Syrian military and the government of Bashar Al-Assad pursues rebel factions there.

SARC and UN workers managed to withdraw from Homs late on Saturday, but left two damaged vehicles behind. Four SARC staff, including a driver, were injured in the melee.

The agreement by the warring parties to evacuate and resupply the city of Homs is believed to be the first tangible result of the Geneva II Peace Conference, which was held in the city of Montreux, Switzerland on January 22.

The UN issued a statement condemning the attack on the relief convoy.

Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the emergency relief coordinator said the attack was a “stark reminder of the dangers that civilians and aid workers face every day across Syria”.

“I am deeply disappointed that the three-day humanitarian pause agreed between the parties to the conflict was broken today and aid workers deliberately targeted,” she said in a statement.

The Syrian government and rebel factions exchanged blame for the attack.

Meanwhile, the UN and SARC say they are committed to continuing the evacuation effort in Homs.

On Friday, some 83 women, children and wounded civilians were evacuated to government-run shelters. The UN estimates that there are 2,500 civilian non-combatants still trapped in the nearly destroyed Homs.

Source: Agencies