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Syria: Aid workers resume evacuations from Homs

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 9, 2014 at 9:21 a.m.

BEIRUT — Syrian aid workers evacuated more civilians from the embattled city of Homs on Sunday despite continued gunfire, state media said, a day after convoys were halted when trucks carrying food and medical supplies came under fire.

In the north, government aircraft dropped barrel bombs on two rebel-held districts of Aleppo, killing at least 11 people, activists said.

State news agency SANA said 65 people were evacuated Sunday after the Syrian Red Crescent returned to the central city, under a U.N.-brokered truce allowing some people to leave and food supplies to enter.

State TV said gunfire echoed around rebel-held areas in the city center as aid workers helped women, children and elderly men leave.

Britain-based opposition group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said explosions and gunfire near the evacuation caused casualties, although it did not immediately give a breakdown.

Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have prevented the entry of food and medical aid into rebel-held parts of Homs for over a year, badly affecting hundreds of civilians holed up in the areas.

Khaled Erksoussi, the head of operations at the SRC told The Associated Press that the agency will try to evacuate as many civilians as possible from rebel-held areas in Homs before the truce expires Monday.

Erksoussi said 83 children, women and elderly people on wheelchairs were evacuated on Friday when the truce went into effect. It was broken a day later, leaving an aid worker wounded and two trucks damaged, Erksoussi said via telephone from Damascus.

It was not clear who fired at the convoy Saturday. Syrian state TV said members of the SRC were wounded by rebel fire in the area, but gave no further details. Opposition activists blamed government-allied militias for the attacks.

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