The gaunt figures of Syrians evacuated from Homs showed the effect of the 18-month long siege on the population.
On day one of a three-day truce, the Syrian government evacuated 83 women, children and elderly persons from the rebel-held Old City.
Many showed the signs of malnutrition. Aid workers with the World Food Programme said some had survived on a diet of leaves, grass and olives.
The governor of Homs, Talal Al-Barazi expressed his satisfaction with the evacuation operations, saying that they had been successful despite logistical issues. “This is the first time in over a year that buses and visitors have managed to get to the Old City,” he added.
Syrian authorities announced that evacuees would receive medical treatment and shelter, and humanitarian aid will be sent to those who choose to remain.
Though the evacuation is a small step forward, a draft UN resolution demanding full access for aid workers across Syria was dismissed by Russia as a ‘non-starter’.