Over 450 people evacuated from Syria: UN

Published December 29th, 2015 - 09:00 GMT

More than 450 civilians have been evacuated from the areas besieged by militants in Syria under a ceasefire deal reached with the government, according to a statement by the United Nations(UN) late Monday.

"The UN in Syria, in partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have successfully facilitated the evacuation of more than 450 people including the injured and their accompanying family members.

While the United Nations and partners are not party to the Agreement, the humanitarian actors are keen to see its provisions implemented as people in these towns live in a difficult situation, and the injured people urgently need medical assistance.

The operation came following a local agreement concerning the Syrian towns of Foua, Kafraya in Idleb and Zabadani and Madaya in Rif Damascus," the statement read.

In a joint statement, the UN, the Syrian Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross said they had "successfully" carried out the evacuation of 338 people from the towns of Foua and Kafraya, and 126 from Zabadani city.

"They were simultaneously evacuated by land and air through Turkey and Lebanon to the agreed final destinations where those requiring longer term medical care will receive it," the statement said.

"The humanitarian community in Syria is keen to see the swift implementation of the next phases of the Four Towns Agreement including humanitarian access to people in these towns. We stand ready to continue providing relief and livelihoods assistance to the millions of people wherever they are in Syria as they bear the brunt of this crisis," UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria Yacoub El-Hillo said in the statement.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura stated that the UN’s clear goal is to reach, as soon as possible a nationwide ceasefire. "Meanwhile, initiatives like this one bring relief to besieged or isolated communities and have great value," de Mistura added. "They help the perception that a nationwide ceasefire brokered by the members of the International Syria Support Group is doable and that the UN can and will do its part," he further explained.

Across Syria, around 4.5 million people living in hard-to-reach areas continue with limited access to basic life-saving assistance and protection. Almost 400,000 of them live in besieged areas with little or no access to basic supplies or assistance. The UN and partners continue to urge all parties to the conflict to find a political solution, and to ensure unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access.

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