Four Red Cross employees injured as trucks enter besieged Syria areas
8 February 2014, 21:48
Four employees of the Syrian Red Cross have been injured during the humanitarian operation in Homs, Al Mayadeen TV Channel reported on Saturday. One of the convoy's trucks has been attacked by entering the Old Town in the area of Al-Sa'a al-Jadida Square. Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi told Al Mayadeen that one of the militants' groups had violated a ceasefire agreement.
'It has not been subordinated to field commanders with whom an agreement was reached,' the governor said.
The incident did not stop the delivery of foodstuffs that continued in residential areas. According to al-Barazi, the Syrian authorities wait for a bus carrying evacuated residents.
Al Mayadeen reports that the Syrian authorities allowed transportation of three tonnes of foodstuffs to Homs. The delivery will be started within hours. At present, the local authorities are coordinating an area where the U.N. convoy will proceed due the fact that the evacuation of peaceful civilians has been delayed.
The situation is calm in the city. The humanitarian operation is led by U.N. coordinator Jacob el-Helo, who said the government structures and the city authorities had made effective contribution to the office.
'I want to thank the Syrian Red Crescent courageous employees, who carried out the operation,' el-Helo said.
The U.N. sources do not rule out that the agreement on a 'humanitarian pause' will be extended in order to allow most people to leave the area of Al Hamidiyeh.
Mortars, shots hit Homs aid convoy - Syrian Red Crescent
The Syrian Red Crescent said Saturday vehicles delivering aid in besieged districts of the central city of Homs were fired on and that one driver was wounded.
'Shots fired targeting aid trucks and the team,' the Red Crescent said on Twitter, without accusing anyone - government forces or rebels - of being responsible. It also said a Red Crescent 'aid truck driver (was) injured.'
'Mortar shells falling in close proximity near the team and aid trucks that moved into Old City,' a second tweet said.
The humanitarian convoy had been delayed since Saturday morning by mortar fire in Homs, which the two warring sides blamed each other for, in violation of a three-day ceasefire for civilians to leave central Homs and aid supplies to get in.
The Red Crescent said on its Twitter feed that an aid truck driver had been wounded after shots were fired at the convoy, and that mortar shells also landed close by as the vehicles moved into the Old City.
It posted a picture which appeared to show a bullet hole in the back window of a Red Crescent car.
Syrian television quoted the governor of Homs, Talal al-Barazi, as saying two cars carrying aid supplies had entered the Old City but that rebels had targeted the route with mortar fire, preventing any more vehicles from entering.
The violence threatens to unravel a humanitarian deal for Homs which was the first concrete result of talks launched two weeks ago in Geneva to try to end the country's civil war.
The conflict has killed more than 130,000 people, driven millions from their homes and reduced parts of Syria's cities to rubble.
Humanitarian operation in Syria's Homs to continue despite provocations - governor
The humanitarian operation in Syria's Homs will continue despite the militants' provocations, Homs' governor Talal al-Barazi said.
The Al Mayadeen television channel reports 'militants violated a three-day truce by firing at the police department.'
The Al Mayadeen says the Syrian authorities allowed delivery to Homs of three tons of food. Delivery of the humanitarian aid is due to begin within next few hours. Currently, local authorities consider the route for of the UN convoy, given the delays in evacuation of civilians.
In the morning, the situation in the city was calm. The UN coordinator on humanitarian missions confirmed the local and governmental authorities had offered most effective support.
Sources at the UN do not rule out the agreement on humanitarian break may be extended to allow more people leave the regions where militants shelter.
Voice of Russia, AFP, Reuters, Interfax, TASS
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