News / Middle East

Red Cross Evacuation in Homs On Hold

An amateur video released by the Shaam News Network purports to show smoke rising from buildings near a mosque in Homs, Syria, June 21, 2012.
An amateur video released by the Shaam News Network purports to show smoke rising from buildings near a mosque in Homs, Syria, June 21, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
CAIRO - Attempts by the Red Cross to evacuate civilians from the battered northern Syrian city of Homs appear to be stalled Thursday, as government forces continue their military offensive against the city and its surroundings. New reports also claim that government troops shelled a group of mourners in the southern flashpoint city of Dara'a, killing a large number of people.

Rabab al-Rifai, a spokeswoman for the ICRC, said the team remains in another part of Homs and will continue to attempt to enter the badly hit neighborhood of Hamidiya.

"An ICRC team and Syrian Arab Red Crescent was heading today to Hamidiya area, but it had to turn back to Homs city," said al-Rifai. "The team had to return as it heard close shootings. So, now, they are trying to re-establish contact with all concerned  - the authorities and the opposition - and we will attempt to go back again to the area [later today]."

Rifai said both the ICRC and the Syrian Red Crescent are hoping to evacuate both the sick and wounded, as well as ordinary citizens trapped inside the city by fighting.

“Fighting has been raging for more than 10 days between the Syrian Army and armed opposition groups in several neighborhoods of Homs, so, there are hundreds of civilians to our knowledge that are stuck in the old city of Homs," she said. "They are unable to leave and find refuge in safer areas because of the ongoing armed confrontations.”

Rifai says that the ICRC has helped 400,000 Syrians affected by unrest or fighting, since the start of the year. ICRC and the Syrian Red Crescent have teams in most major Syrian cities.

  • This image made from amateur video released by Shaam News Network purports to show smoke rising from buildings in Homs, Syria, June 18, 2012.
  • Fire burns after shelling at the Al Qussoor area in Homs, Syria, June 18, 2012.
  • This image made from amateur video purports to show smoke rising from buildings in Homs, Syria. Syrian forces renewed shelling of the central city of Homs on Monday, one day after the head of the U.N. observers' mission demanded that warring parties allow
  • Residents flee their homes after shelling in Houla near Homs, Syria, June 18, 2012.
  • Residents gather during the funeral of Hussein Omish, whom protesters say was killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Jubar outside Damascus, Syria, June 18, 2012.
  • Demonstrators hold opposition flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Kfr Suseh, Damascus, Syria. June 18, 2012

Analyst Timor Goksel, who teaches at the American University of Beirut, says the Syrian government "needs to take certain steps to ease the pressure and to soften its image," but that he does not consider the evacuation of civilians to be a "major concession."

New reports say that a Syrian fighter pilot defected to Jordan Thursday, flying his MiG-21 warplane to al-Mafraq airport. A majority of Syrian air force pilots are Sunni Muslims, while a majority of helicopter pilots are Alawites.

The Syrian defense minister called the pilot who defected a "deserter and a traitor." He also called on Jordan to return the MiG-21 plane used by the pilot to flee the country.

Amateur video showed Syrian helicopters shooting missiles at the southern city of Dara'a Thursday. Numerous videos have shown Syrian helicopters crossing different parts of the country in recent days.

Russia also confirmed Thursday that a Russian ship, the MV Alaed, which was turned back while off the Scottish coast due to the cancellation of its insurance coverage, was carrying helicopters belonging to the Syrian government. It said another vessel would attempt to deliver the cargo.

Witnesses also reported fierce fighting in the mostly opposition-held Damascus suburb of Douma. Amateur video showed rebel soldiers engaged in street battles with government troops.

Witnesses report that up to 20 people were killed when government troops shelled a funeral procession in the Dara'a suburb of Inghil. Relatives cried and shouted as they gathered around the bodies laid out on the carpet of a local mosque.

In Cairo, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said that a contact group would meet to discuss Syria on June 29.

"A committee including the five major powers would meet for the first time, which is important since previous meetings did not include two of those powers [Russian and China]," said al-Arabi.

Both Russia and China have repeatedly blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions to condemn the Syrian government for attacking civilian populations. The U.N. estimates that over 10,000 civilians have been killed in more than 15 months of conflict.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
June 21, 2012 4:31 PM
They've been saying theres been over 10,000 killed for 6 months. I bet it is more like triple that or more. Russia is going to get its hand slapped trying to send the helicopters again. Wake up and smell the coffee Putin, you can't aid a ruthless dictator and get away with it. The world will penalize you and seclude you. The best thing that could ever happen to Russia is a great leader that is friendly and caring about the world take over. Not only would it help the Russian people, but also build stronger world ties. Putin has the stupidest ideas, unlike any other leader. Hopefully his Arab Spring arrives in Moscow soon. I would love to see his own people slap him with a revolution, he deserves it.


by: Andrey Shelgunov from: Russia
June 21, 2012 12:46 PM
How this weapon can kill people? it's air defenses. Why force the evil thoughts in relation to the Russians?

In Response

by: Anonymous
June 23, 2012 6:37 PM
what has he said? what am i supposed to make of it?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid