The Contras freed 83 women, children and old people, whom they had held hostage in the old town of Homs (formerly known as Emesa). They were entrusted to the Syrian Red Crescent, in accordance with a cease-fire negotiated by the United-Nations.

A second group should be released Sunday. However, the Contras violated the cease-fire by firing a mortar shell on the local police headquarters.

Similarly, another evacuation operation had taken place the same week at the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk (a Damascus suburb), allowing the release of 450 people.

The Syrian armed forces besiege the areas held by the Contras who, to avoid an assault, take civilians hostage.

Alizée Ville