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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Red Cross Denied Access to Besieged Homs

RIA Novosti

21:55 03/03/2012

MOSCOW, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - Syrian pro-government forces that continue shelling the opposition stronghold of Homs, denied access to the besieged city on Saturday for a humanitarian convoy of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that was seeking entry to the city to help the injured, the world’s media reported.

"The ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent did not enter Baba Amr [Hom’s neighborhood] today,” ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan told Reuters, adding that medics continued negotiations with Syrian authorities “in order to enter and help as many people as possible."

A convoy of seven trucks carrying food, medicines and other first-aid and relief items has arrived to the Homs’ area on Friday since the Syrian authorities approved a humanitarian mission to Homs after the rebels had fled the city.

The Red Cross however was denied access on Saturday over “the security concerns,” as the pro-government forces called it.

"It is unacceptable that people who have been in need of emergency assistance for weeks have still not received any help," ICRC head Jakob Kellenberger said in a statement on Friday.

Leaders of the 27-member European Union repeated calls on Friday on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and stressed that the EU will increase its pressure on the Syrian regime to end the violence.

Russia and China have twice vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria that they believe could lead to a military operation against Syrian government forces as a repetition of “the Libyan scenario.”

Russia has also opposed calls to establish air corridors in Syria to provide humanitarian aid to civilian population suffering from the consequences of clashes between troops loyal to al-Assad and opposition forces.

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