Red Cross Syria

February 21, 2012 by staff 

Red Cross Syria, The Red Cross called Tuesday for a daily two-hour cease-fire in Syria so that it can deliver emergency aid and reach people who are wounded or sick, an appeal that came as government troops heavily shelled rebellious districts in the resistance stronghold of Homs, killing at least 16 people.

Activists said the intense shelling of Baba Amr in Homs lasted a few hours but did not seem to be the start of a widely expected military offensive aimed at retaking rebel-held neighborhoods in the central region. Two of the 16 people killed were children, activists said, warning that Homs is already facing a humanitarian catastrophe.

The attacks compounded fears of a new round of bloody urban combat in a country careening toward all-out civil war.

“The current situation requires an immediate decision to implement a humanitarian pause in the fighting,” said Jakob Kellenberger, the president of the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross.

“In Homs and in other affected areas, entire families have been stuck for days in their homes, unable to step outside to get bread, other food or water, or to obtain medical care,” he said in a statement.

The Red Cross said Monday that it has been negotiating with Syrian authorities and members of the opposition to agree a temporary cease-fire so that emergency aid can reach beleaguered parts of the country.

“It should last at least two hours every day, so that ICRC staff and Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers have enough time to deliver aid and evacuate the wounded and the sick,” said Kellenberger.

Also Tuesday, Russia said the United Nations should send a special envoy to Syria to help coordinate security issues and the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter that it’s proposing that the U.N. Security Council ask the U.N. Secretary General to send the envoy.

The U.N. estimates that at least 5,400 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the 11-month uprising against Syria’s President Bashar Assad.

In the northern province of Aleppo, the government said a Syrian businessman was shot dead in front of his home in what appears to be the latest in a series of targeted that suggest armed factions are growing bolder and more coordinated.

An activist inside Homs said the shelling started after repeated attempts by troops to storm the edges of Baba Amr.

“Government troops have been unable to advance because of stiff resistance from defectors inside,” he told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, fearing government reprisals.

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