Authorities preparing for possible Homs exodus

The UN Higher Commission for Refugees said they are preparing for a mass exodus of besieged Syrians from Homs to Lebanon.

Authorities preparing for possible Homs exodus

World Bulletin / News Desk

The UN Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon said on Thursday that it has prepared an emergency plan in case civilians from neighborhoods in the western Syrian city of Homs fled to Lebanon in the near future.

"An emergency plan is ready in this regard," UNHCR Public Information Officer Dana Sleiman told Anadolu Agency.

"The plan is updated every now and then to cope up with any emergency on the ground," she added.

Governor of Homs Talal Barazi told the state SANA news agency on Thursday that the United Nations and Syria have reached a deal to allow civilians to leave Homs' old city, which have been under siege by government forces for over 18 months now.

He added that the deal will allow civilians to get out of the old city "very soon".

Sleiman, however, said UNHCR has not received any updates about the deal yet.

"But, we will apply the emergency plan in case Syrian civilians arrived in Lebanon," she said, noting that her organization is aware of the "limited resources" of the Lebanese state.

Sleiman said the plan specifies the responsibilities of each side as far as foodstuffs and other basic needs, including covers, are concerned.

Around 909,000 Syrian refugees are registered in the UNHCR in Lebanon.

Lebanese authorities, however, say there are more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees on Lebanese territory.

UN welcomes Homs agreement

United Nations welcomed on Thursday Homs agreement which the Syrian government and opposition have agreed to allow humanitarian access to the besieged Old City of Homs.

Farhan Haq, the spokesperson of the UN secretary-generali told reporters that UN welcomed the news that the agreement has been reached.

"We need to see unhindered, continuous and safe access for humanitarian workers to the millions of people trapped," Haq said, quoting Valerie Amos, the UN undersecretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief.

Under the agreement, civilians will reportedly be allowed to leave the city, and humanitarian aid will be delivered to those who choose to stay.

The Old City in Homs has been under siege for over a year.

Last Mod: 07 Şubat 2014, 17:51
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