Red Cross Unable to Rescue Syrian Wounded

Posted February 25th, 2012 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Red Cross workers say they were unable to resume emergency medical evacuations Saturday for wounded victims trapped in the besieged Syrian city of Homs.

A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said negotiations with the Syrian government and opposition groups produced “no concrete results” on Saturday. The ICRC spokesman said negotiations with both sides will continue on Sunday in an attempt to enter the city and evacuate anyone in need of help.

A Red Cross spokeswoman told VOA the group is trying to get Syrian authorities to agree to a daily two-hour pause in the fighting, so that humanitarian workers can provide assistance to victims.

On Friday, the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent evacuated seven wounded people and 20 women and children from the Baba Amr district of Homs. They have not yet been able to rescue two wounded Western journalists and recover the bodies of two others killed in the violence.

The Syrian government's bombardment of Homs continued on Saturday, so thousands of people are trapped in the city, unable to leave safely. Activist groups say dozens of people were killed in government attacks on opposition groups across the country, including several victims in Homs, but no independent confirmation of those reports is possible.

Meanwhile, international pressure on Syria continues to mount, A group of Western and Arab-led delegates from the international group “Friends of Syria” is demanding that President Bashar al-Assad's government end all violence immediately and allow the delivery of foreign humanitarian aid to hard-hit areas.

In Washington, President Barack Obama said the U.S. and its allies will consider “every tool available” to stop the slaughter of innocent people in Syria. He said it is absolutely imperative for the international community to send a clear message to Mr. Assad that it is time for his “regime to move on.”

In Tunis, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton predicted that Mr. Assad will pay a “heavy cost” for violating the rights of the Syrian people and ignoring international will by attacking the opposition.

U.N.-appointed investigators estimate the death toll from the uprising at 6,400 civilians and 1,680 army defectors. Syrian government officials have said they only took military action when under armed attack from “terrorists.”