Syrian government detaining 295 men evacuated from Homs

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Residents of Homs, Syria, in March 2012. Photo: OCHA/Jutta Hinkkanen

Aid agencies have so far managed to evacuate 1,132 civilians from the Syrian old city of Homs.

Among the people evacuated by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) were 124 elderly people, 308 children under 18 years old, 465 men aged between18 and 55 years old and 252 women.

United Nations refugee agency UNHCR however says 295 men between the ages of 15 and 55 years have been detained by the Syrian government for interrogation.

UNHCR spokesperson in Geneva Melissa Fleming says protection officers from the refugee agency and UNICEF are monitoring the interrogations although they were not privy to the actual questioning.

“We are in the facility we know every person who is in there. We are speaking to them separately ourselves, but these are interviews that the UN is not necessarily privy to. These are security screening interviews. We are trying to make sure that all civilians who want to get out of Homs can get out and we are doing our very best under the most complicated dangerous circumstances imaginable to ensure that as many lives can be saved as possible. We are working under an agreement that was reached between two parties, anything that falls outside of that agreement is sensitive and we are doing our best to be on the scene and to monitor and to provide the neutral impartial UN humanitarian presence and monitoring.”

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says more evacuation are expected in the coming days following the extension of the agreement to halt fighting for another three days.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Geneva.

Duration 1.45″

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