Under a UN-brokered deal, food aid has started to the besieged city of Homs. This follows on the heels of a similar deal to send food packages to the Yarmouk refugee camp. According to Palestinian sources more than 5,000 packages have been delivered to Yarmouk at the rate of 1000 packages per day. Also, militants holed up in the two locales want to negotiate a deal and surrender their weapons.
Friday February 7, 2014, 09:01 EST
Finally some relief may be on the way for civilians trapped in Homs, according to an agreement reached between the UN and Syrian officials. A “humanitarian pause” has been agreed under which food is to be delivered to the city today.
During the Geneva-II talks last month, the situation of civilians in Homs was discussed and the Syrian government agreed to let food supplies in. The rebels holed up in Homs and holding civilians hostage refused to allow any deliveries unless the government allowed militants also to leave the city without being arrested.
The Syrian government was prepared to accept even this condition provided the militants gave the names of those leaving. After a week of negotiations, an agreement has been reached.
“Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi and UN resident coordinator Yaacoub El Hillo have reached an agreement securing the exit of innocent civilians from the Old City and the entrance of humanitarian assistance for civilians who choose to stay,” it said.
The Syrian news agency, SANA said “the relevant Syrian authorities will implement the deal by providing the necessary humanitarian assistance.”
In Geneva, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said food and supplies had been placed on the outskirts of Homs but they would not be delivered until safety is assured.
“They're not going to travel by night, but the agreement for delivery is there, and that is what we are welcoming,” OHCHR spokesman Jens Laerke said.
The Homs deal comes on the heels of an agreement under which more than 5,000 food packages have been delivered to Yarmouk, a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus. The Yarmouk deal was agreed between Syrian Government Representatives and the Yarmouk Leadership.
Sources inside the camp have confirmed that “parties” are engaged in finding a “formula to resolve the problem completely.” According to these same sources the militants inside the camp are leaning towards a “complete reconciliation or settlement.” They want to negotiate a resolution for those militants who are in talks with certain channels inside the camp and with the Syrian army.
The militants have indicated they are willing to withdraw from the camp based on an initiative put forward by the reconciliation committees and the Palestinian factions to end the fighting based on the model of Moadamyeh, Kaboun, Barzeh and others.
While Yarmouk and Homs offer some hope, fighting still rages in Aleppo. All indications are that the militants, especially the Saudi-backed takfiri terrorists are on the defensive. The Saudi-backed insurgency is losing steam and hope.