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Christians Evacuated From Besieged Syrian City

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
This citizen journalism image released by Shaam News Network taken Sunday, July 1, 2012 purports to show people praying during the funeral of Zahar Radwan Ibrahim Massalmeh who was killed in fighting with Syrian government forces in Daraa, Syria. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network)THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS CITIZEN JOURNALISM IMAGE

This citizen journalism image released by Shaam News Network taken Sunday, July 1, 2012 purports to show people praying during the funeral of Zahar Radwan Ibrahim Massalmeh who was killed in fighting with Syrian government forces in Daraa, Syria. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network)THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS CITIZEN JOURNALISM IMAGE

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- A Greek Orthodox priest in Syria says the first group of Christians has been evacuated from Homs after a deal was struck between the Syrian army and rebels in the besieged city.

The Rev. Maximos al-Jamal said on Wednesday that 63 people had been evacuated over the previous 24 hours. He said negotiations continued to get another 100 Christians out of two besieged neighborhoods in Homs.

Christians make up about 10 percent of Syria's population and feel particularly vulnerable to the violence sweeping the country. They fear that Syria will become another Iraq, with Christians caught in the crossfire between rival Muslim groups.

Syrian Christians have largely stuck by President Bashar Assad, fearing Islamist hard-liners among the rebels.

Since the uprising began, Jordan has sheltered more than 130,000 Syrian refugees. Thousands more have fled to Turkey and Lebanon.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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