UNICEF urges Syria govt to release Homs children

"There are still 56 children at the interrogation facility in Homs," UNICEF says.

GENEVA - The UN children's agency, UNICEF, said on Tuesday that the Syria regime must free children held in an interrogation center after they were evacuated from the old city of Homs.

"There are 56 children at the facility, including 34 boys between ages of 15 and 18, 10 boys under 15, and 12 girls below 18," UNICEF spokesperson, Marixie Mercado, said in a press conference on Tuesday in the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Mercado said most of the children were under 15 and the girls are there with their families because their fathers or brothers are still being processed.

The group also included two unaccompanied children, one of them a seven-year-old girl whose family was still in Homs, and the other a teenage boy, whose parents were in Lebanon but who had relatives in Homs, Mercado added.

UNICEF has been advocating for the release of all remaining children, Mercado said.

More than 1,400 people have so far left the Old City of Homs which has been bombarded by government troops on a daily basis.

According to the UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, there are still some 2,500 people who needed to be evacuated from Homs.

More than a hundred men, who were evacuated from the old city of Homs, have been detained by the regime.

Those trying to leave during the ceasefire that has been agreed in Homs are being questioned in an abandoned school in Homs.

The UN does not consider questioning these detainees as an illegal act in the war situation in Syria.

According to the terms of the ceasefire, those allowed to leave were men 55 years-old or over, as well as women and children. UN staff reported that many were in poor health and traumatized.

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