Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi said a number of civilians in the old city of Homs are ready to leave, but are being kept from leaving until food convoys are delivered.
Barazi said almost twice the amount of food that was agreed upon has now been delivered to the old city.
Barazi told Syrian TV on Saturday that "we will continue this operation because it's very important for us that civilians held inside leave and that food supplies – which the government agreed to send in – reach those who need it."
He said that the vehicles carrying the aid supplies entered the area and crossed the checkpoint of the security forces and the Syrian army, entering 100 meters inside a hotspot controlled by gunmen.
He said one of the vehicles returned because an explosive device went off on the road and impeded its progress, while another vehicle returned after it sustained five gunshots to its front by a sniper. He said the Syrian Arab Red Crescent team and the international mission are still with the remaining trucks and working to deliver the aid.
Barazi said that carrying out the mission doesn't please the rebel side as it failed to prove that there is a besieged area. He noted that there were attempts to hinder the extraction of civilians on Saturday morning, with many physical obstacles on the road, which is why vehicles were sent in and the road was secured, allowing the aid vehicles to enter and civilians to leave.
"We are waiting for this process to be completed and for the evacuation of the civilians we are waiting for in the areas prepared for their arrival," he said, adding that preparations are under way to provide care for these civilians. He said the operation was delayed due to several IED explosions and the firing of mortar rounds by terrorist groups inside the area.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer