Friday, March 2, 2012

Syria army stops Red Cross entering Baba Amr to deliver aid

Red Cross evacuates bodies of Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik, but warns refusal of aid risks humanitarian crisis in Homs

Peter Beaumont and Mona Mahmood, Friday 2 March 2012

"Syrian authorities have blocked the Red Cross from entering the Baba Amr district of the city of Homs, where civilians have endured days of fierce fighting, amid reports that soldiers and armed gangs have been carrying out atrocities in the suburb since it fell to the government on Thursday.

Despite receiving permission from the government to send a convoy with seven truckloads of aid into Baba Amr, the Red Cross was prevented from entering the neighbourhood, an action it described as "unacceptable".

The refusal to allow the convoy in to treat and evacuate the wounded came as the organisation announced that the Syrian authorities had handed over the bodies of Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik, who were killed in an attack on a press centre in Baba Amr over a week ago....

Anti-Assad activists have accused Syrian troops of burning houses, arresting all males over the age of 12 and of extrajudicial killings, including the alleged beheadings of 17 men captured after the suburb's fall.

Bassel Fouad, a Syrian activist who fled to Lebanon from Baba Amr two days ago, said a colleague there told him that troops and pro-government gunmen known as shabiha were conducting house-to-house raids. "The situation is worse than terrible inside Baba Amr," he said. "Shabiha are entering homes and setting them on fire."....

Activist groups said protesters who took to the streets in towns across Syria on Friday were met with teargas, gunfire and mass arrests. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 10 people were killed in the town of Rastan near Homs when a mortar landed near marchers. The Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria said 16 were killed in the same event, among 52 reported dead nationwide.
Protesters dubbed Friday the day of "Arming the Free Syrian Army", reflecting a widening perception that only military action can stop the crackdown on dissent and hasten Assad's downfall."

No comments: