Red Cross kept out of embattled Syrian neighborhood [Video]

REPORTING FROM BEIRUT -- Seven trucks carrying aid for wounded Syrians were stopped from entering a besieged neighborhood in the city of Homs on Friday, despite the fact that Syrian authorities had given humanitarian groups the green light to provide assistance the day before.

"We were not allowed to enter Bab Amr district, and our teams have been in Homs since this morning waiting to enter," International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson Carla Haddad Mardini said in Geneva. "The Syrian authorities did not allow us to enter Baba Amr."

The plan, she said, was to enter the embattled neighborhood, deliver aid and evacuate those wounded -- none of which was accomplished during the day because Syrian authorities refused to allow the aid convoy to enter.

"It is unacceptable that people who have been in need of emergency assistance for weeks still have not received any help," ICRC President Jakob Kellenberg said in a statement. "We are staying in Homs tonight in the hopes of entering Baba Amr in the very near future. Many families have fled Baba Amr and we will help them as soon as we possibly can."

Rebels pulled back from the neighborhood Thursday. Syrian government troops now control the former opposition stronghold, where thousands of civilians were said to be stranded without water, food, electricity or proper medical care.

Though the aid groups could not enter, Syrian authorities in Homs handed their representatives the bodies of two Western journalists who were killed in Baba Amr last week. They were put into a Syrian Arab Red Crescent ambulance headed for Damascus and accompanied by ICRC staff, Haddad Mardini said.

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-- Alexandra Sandels

Video: International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson Carla Haddad Mardini talks about being denied access to the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, Syria. Credit: International Committee of the Red Cross

 
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