Red Cross blocked from Homs 2nd straight day

Syrian government forces held a Red Cross convoy outside Homs for a second straight day, today, saying aid workers risked triggering booby traps and mines, Reuters reported.

The shelling continued, as well, as the international community continues to pressure Bashar Assad’s government to stop slaughtering civilians.

“In an act of pure revenge, Assad’s army has been firing mortar rounds and … machine guns since this morning at Jobar,” the Syrian Network for Human Rights said of an area near Baba Amr.

“We have no immediate reports of casualties because of the difficulty of communications.”

Homs, a former rebel stronghold, is seeing increased violence after Free Syrian Army forces fled after weeks of fighting.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday said "grisly reports" of executions, imprisonment and torture reached the United Nations; it estimates 7,500 people have died in the last year.

Assad's government says "armed terrorists" have killed 2,000 police officers and military forces.

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Many fled the Baba Amr region of Homs, a city of about 1 million people; however, shelling followed them into Khaldiyeh, Bab Sbaa and Khader, The Associated Press said, citing information from Local Coordination Committees.

A doctor said steady shelling has damaged some homes and sent about 12 people to his clinic in the Khaldiyeh district of Homs, Syria’s third-largest city. 

“This has become routine, the mortars start falling early in the morning,” Dr. Abu Hassan al-Homsi told the AP.

One resident said Khaldiyeh has been without water or heat for a week as temperatures drop.

“We are collecting rain and snow water, and cutting trees to burn to warm ourselves,” he said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross continues to negotiate with the Syrian government, BBC reported.

Seven trucks of aid are waiting for access, said ICRC representative Sean Maguire.

“The needs on the ground are quite large and we need to get in quickly,” he said. “We haven't turned back. … We're persistent.”

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