The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday it was preparing to evacuate wounded people and trapped civilians from the flashpoint city of Homs after both sides agreed to its request for a temporary pause in fighting.
The independent agency said it had made its request on Tuesday to Syrian authorities and opposition groups. “We have teams from the ICRC and Syrian Red Crescent in Homs city. We want to go in as soon as possible. We are finalizing technical issues,” ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan told Reuters.
“Our first priority, together with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, is to evacuate the wounded and the sick to safer areas, where they can be treated,” said Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, ICRC’s head of operations for the Near and Middle East.
“The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are ready to enter the old city of Homs and the neighborhoods of Al-Qarabees, Al-Qusour, Jurat al-Shayyah and Al-Khalidiya,” he added.
“We also want to evacuate civilians who have been unable to flee the conflict area, and bring in much-needed aid and medical supplies to the local Syrian Arab Red Crescent branch.”
In a related story, an Italian journalist with ANSA news agency survived a bomb attack on his convoy in Syria on Wednesday, which killed a policeman and wounded three other people, the Italian foreign ministry said.
“Two home-made bombs exploded today as three cars which were escorting the ANSA journalist Claudio Accogli to Daraa, 100 kilometers south of Damascus. One policeman was killed and three people were wounded,” it said.