Syrian military denies Red Cross access to Baba Amr

    Syria’s embattled Baba Amr district in Homs may have to continue waiting for humanitarian aid: The Red Cross reported that on Friday (March 2), its staff was denied access despite earlier government authorization.

    The Red Cross received the Syrian government’s green light to enter Baba Amr on March 1, a few hours after rebels who have held the district for months retreated because of lack of weapons, among other reasons.

    But on Friday, a Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent convoy poised to enter and deliver aid to the district was blocked by authorities, Red Cross spokesperson Carla Haddad told Reuters. The convoy’s organizers said military officials told them it was still unsafe to enter Baba Amr, the New York Times says. The newspaper adds there are unconfirmed reports the military is conducting house-to-house inspections and executions in the district.

    Red Cross President Jakob Kellenberger said the convoy will remain in Homs with hopes of being allowed into Baba Amr “in the very near future.” ICRC also reiterated its proposal for a two-hour daily ceasefire across Syria to allow aid groups to deliver assistance.

    The Red Cross has tried to enter Baba Amr twice over the weekend, but failed on both attempts. It has, however, been able to provide food, blankets and medical supplies in central Homs province, where many families that have fled Baba Amr are staying, The Associated Press reports.

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      Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.