It was the big agreement in the last international talks of peace on Syria. A temporal truce in Homs to allow the besieged civilians, women and children, could leave and go to safer areas. But the agreement proved to be as difficult as the talks themselves. The truce was not kept. There were attacks during the evacuation. Nevertheless over 700 people emerged from the besieged area of the city towards the unknown, hoping to find some help provided by the UN.
Some refuse to leave out of fear of a massacre on the rebels and men that would stay under siege. This selective end of the siege only for some of the inhabitants of the area raises suspicions among the population. Some would remember Srebrenica in Bosnia, during the Balkans War when the Serbians evacuated all the women and children from the occupied city, but they kept the Bosnian muslim men and young boys and massacred them in one of the worst mass killings of the last century after the WWII. We have to hope that the UN has learned the lesson of Srebrenica, and won’t allow to happen again in Syria.
The situation is different in Homs, because the area is under siege, not occupied yet, and inside there are rebels.
But the suffering for the civilians are the same. A siege is a siege. The images of the people emerging from those neighbourhoods of Homs with their belongings in bags walking amid the destruction reminded me the images of people being evacuated from Vukovar in Croatia by the Serbian forces during the Balkans War after a long siege. Same lines of devastated people, same destruction everywhere. The horrors of the war. At least the evacuated in Homs are being received by the UN humanitarian workers and not conducted by the besiegers as happened to the citizens of Vukovar.
Homs has suffered greatly after a year and a half of siege. The city is mostly destroyed. Citizens in the besieged area are suffering above all of hunger, as denounced an orthodox priest in a YouTube video posted recently. He said that people can’t find food and there is nothing harder than see people in the streets looking for food for their children. He also said that another big problem is find a medical treatment for ailing people. According to other witnesses many people survive eating grass and weeds.
The suffering is not finished. The siege continues for many people.
Let’s see what happens when the selective evacuation of the besieged area of Homs finishes. Violent fighting, a wave of indiscriminate attacks or a move to enter and occupy the area by the government forces could be some possible consequences.
Syrian Arab Red Crescent
women and children