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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019

Aid team gains entry to struggling region of Homs in Syria

The food and emergency aid convoy has spent the past six days trying to secure entry to Baba Amr.

Mourners at a funeral in February in the Rastan neighbourhood of Homs carry signs telling the people in Baba Amr to
Mourners at a funeral in February in the Rastan neighbourhood of Homs carry signs telling the people in Baba Amr to "be patient, God is with us".
Image: STR/AP/Press Association Images

A SYRIAN ARAB Red Crescent team has entered the struggling neighbourhood of Baba Amr in Homs.

The International Community of the Red Cross confirmed in a tweet that the team have gained entry. Other teams are providing assistance in the Abel region of the city which as been besieged since 4 February.

Thousands are thought to have died since shelling attacks started as part of a deadly crackdown on dissent against the Assad regime.

President Bashar Assad had promised humanitarian aid agencies entry to Baba Amr – one of the worst affected neighbourhoods – last Thursday but the convoy of seven truck with food and emergency aid had not been allowed in until today.

Government forces claimed the area was riddled with land mines and other booby traps.

The Red Crescent and ICRC has said that it has several ambulances and a doctor ready to provide medical care where needed. Mattresses, blankets and hygeine items have also been distributed in other areas of the city.

The State run news agency in Syria also said that the organisation had resumed distributing aid in Baba Amr. The Government claims the people there are affected by the “criminal acts of armed terrorist groups”.

Image from news agency SANA purporting to show a member of the Red Crescent team in Baba Amr.

In an online update on Monday, the ICRC said, “The priority for the ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent is to continue assisting people affected by the violence, including those who fled Baba Amr or who remain inside the district.”

Earlier today, the UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos travelled to Damascus to urge the Syrian government to allow relief workers access to those areas where people were suffering the most.

She is currently on her way to Homs.

The UN believes that at least 7,500 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began as part of the wider Arab Spring movement last March.

More: UN humanitarian chief heads to Syria>

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