The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have succeeded on Monday (Feb. 27) in entering Homs and Hama, cities heavily besieged by government forces.
ICRC spokesman Simon Schorno told NPR News the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has evacuated three people from Baba Amr district, including a pregnant woman “in urgent need of care.” The team has also brought in emergency medical supplies for distribution.
In addition, both teams have entered the city of Hama — the first time since Jan. 17. They will distribute “enough food,” hygiene kits and blankets to cover some of the needs of around 12,000 people.
Meanwhile, wounded British photographer Paul Conroy has reportedly been evacuated from Homs, BBC reports. Conroy is said to have been “smuggled out” by the opposition and the Free Syria Army fighters into Lebanon. While there are reports French journalist Edith Bouvier was smuggled out along with Conroy, her whereabouts remain unclear.
U.N.-appointed investigators estimate more than 8,000 people have died from the unrest since March last year, Voice of America reports.
The international community, following the so-called “Friends of Syria” meeting last Friday, has agreed to tighten sanctions on Syria. The European Union made good of its pledge, imposing new sanctions on the country on Monday. It remains to be seen, however, whether these actions will produce the group’s desired outcomes.
The United States continues to reach out to Russia and China to use their influence on President Bashar Assad and convince him to, in the words of U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, ”silence his guns.” The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, meanwhile, are still awaiting the government’s response to their daily, two-hour ceasefire request.
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