Three-day ceasefire paves way for small-scale evacuation in Syrian city of Homs
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now back to the civil war in Syria, where there was relief for some today, as fighting continued.
We begin with a report from Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Though the Syrian government says it will rejoin peace talks in Switzerland on Monday, its helicopters have carried on dropping so-called barrel bombs on Aleppo, with hundreds reported killed.
But, from Homs, further south, a glimmer of good news. Three coachloads of civilians were evacuated from the besieged old city. The Russians claim the three-day cease-fire they brokered here was a landmark agreement, and it’s certainly a propaganda coup for Syria’s biggest ally as the Sochi Olympics begin.
The question now though is whether these Syrian troops will keep their promise to let humanitarian aid reach those still trapped inside. This Dutch priest, Frans Van der Lugt, has so far refused to leave. “We have no food at all,” he says, “only a little bit of wheat.” We’re reaching the situation when hunger will lead not to sickness, but to death.
Homs, the city he lives in, was one of the first to rise up against the Assad regime. Today’s evacuees, around 80 people, have been promised medical treatment and shelter, but Western diplomats say it shouldn’t have taken several weeks to negotiate a step as small as this.