UN warns that over 250,000 Syrians still trapped

The evacuation of civilians from the besieged Syrian city of Homs was a “remarkable” achievement, U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said Feb. 13, though warning of 250,000 people across the country were awaiting help.

Amos said the Homs operation should not serve as a model for future efforts. “It was a success given the extremely difficult circumstances, but not a progress,” she added.

“We evacuated 1,400 people but there (are) nearly 250,000 more to go if you look at all the besieged communities.” Amos told reporters that the U.N. had received “verbal assurances” from both sides in the conflict that the truce around Homs would be extended but officials were still awaiting written confirmation.

“We can’t continue without those written assurances,” she said. Amos called on the 15-member U.N. Security Council to “use their influence over parties to ensure they abide by pauses, give humanitarian access, commit in writing to upholding international humanitarian laws.” She expressed frustration at the “extremely limited and painstakingly slow” progress.

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