Evacuees from Syria fear indefinite detention

2014-04-15 20:56


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


  • Syria
    Options and Implications for Lebanon and the Region Now R196.00
    buy now

Beirut - Some 400 men, including rebels and draft evaders from besieged areas of Syria's city of Homs, who recently surrendered to the authorities, fear they may be held indefinitely, activists said on Tuesday.

Evacuations from the battered districts began in February, during a UN-supervised humanitarian operation that saw some 1 400 people leave the blockaded rebel areas.

The operation was initially intended to allow women, children and the elderly to leave the areas, where people have been surviving on little more than herbs for nearly two years, but scores of men also left.

Then, some two weeks ago, another 300 men - mainly rebel fighters and draft evaders - also left the siege, including a civilian activist who identified himself as Omar.

"There was a promise that the army defectors [rebel fighters] would be released if they handed in their weapons, and they did. There was talk that we draft evaders would be released too, but till now, there is nothing," said Omar.

He and the other men are all still being held at a former school called Al-Andalus, located in Homs city.

Omar says they are being held in good conditions "but we don't know anything about what will happen to us. We are waiting and waiting".

Speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, a UN source in Syria confirmed that 300 men "left [the siege] spontaneously, without negotiations and without a ceasefire. They are currently in Al-Andalus school".

The source also said local charities are delivering food to them.

For his part, Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi said: "Every day some 10 to 25 men leave [besieged] Old Homs) and hand over their weapons. We welcome them in a hospitality centre for as long as we need to study their situation."

"Each person has a specific case. Some stay [in Al-Andalus] for two days, others for a week, and others for longer. Last Friday we cleared 54 men."

The governor told AFP he does not know how many men in total are being held in the school.

The detainees' fears come amid a major escalation of violence against the besieged, rebel areas. For the first time since last summer, the army entered the besieged area on Tuesday, under cover of fire.

Read more on:    syria  |  syria conflict

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!

Soon sending an LOL! or facepalm will be so much more fun!


For chic geeks...

Puppy goes crazy over iPad game
Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!
Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a tendency to fight against the current today but this will just use up a lot of energy and not get you very far. You...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.