Sanaa, December 29: More than 460 people, including the seriously injured and their family members, were evacuated from four towns under siege in Syria today with the help of the United Nations and its Red Cross and Red Crescent partners following a local agreement between the fighters on the ground.
“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,” said the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Yacoub El-Hillo.
“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.”
The UN in Syria, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross carried out coordinated tasks leading to the evacuation of 338 people from Foua and Kafraya, and 125 people from Zabadani and Madaya.
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 Security Council last week demanded that all parties, particularly the Syrian authorities, immediately open routes across conflict lines and borders to let in vital humanitarian aid.
For his part, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura stressed 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,” he said. “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.”
Across Syria, 4.5 million people in hard-to-reach areas continue with limited access to basic life-saving aid and protection. Almost 400,000 of them live in besieged areas with little or no access to basic supplies or assistance.