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HOMS, Syria, 29 May, 2014 – An estimated 240,000 people, including children and women, remain besieged in Syria. They remain cut off from essential services such as safe water and electricity, along with life-saving necessities including food medical supplies. They live in a world assaulted by explosions and gunfire – the ongoing refrain of a conflict now into its fourth year.

The Old City of Homs remained a besieged area for nearly two years. In February 2014, close to 1,400 civilian children and elderly were allowed to leave the Old City thanks to a UN-supervised agreement. Then in the first week of May, an agreement negotiated between the Government of Syria and the armed opposition groups enabled the fighters and a number of civilians to evacuate the Old City.

Following the recent agreement, former residents of the Old City who were uprooted and displaced as fighting in the Old City, returned to check on what remains of their former homes and businesses.

The scale of destruction in the Old City is staggering. At least 50 per cent of the neighbourhoods are now destroyed and there is large-scale damage to essential infrastructure like water and sewerage systems.

 

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