Red Cross calls for 'humanitarian pause' in Syria's Homs

July 12, 2013 23:47

BEIRUT - The Red Cross appealed on Friday for a halt in the fierce fighting between President Bashar Assad's forces and rebels in the Syrian city of Homs, to bring in life-saving supplies to trapped residents.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said thousands of Syrian lives were at risk in the old city of Homs, where Assad's forces have been pushing a heavy offensive with air and artillery strikes to try to retake rebel areas.

The Red Cross said combatants in the more than two-year conflict were hampering the delivery of aid to beleaguered locals and had failed to secure safe passage for trapped residents trying to flee the area.

"We call on the Syrian authorities to permit delivery in the old city of food and medical supplies," said Magne Barth, the head of the ICRC delegation in Syria.

"We also call on all the armed groups that are in control of the old city to ensure that civilians who want to leave can do so safely."

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