Red Cross seeks way to deliver aid in Syria

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Mar 5, 2010
DAMASCUS: The Red Cross said it was in talks with the Syrian authorities and rebels to halt the violence so that it can deliver aid, amid calls to allow women and children out of the besieged city of Homs.

President Bashar al-Assad, on Monday again accused foreigners of funding and arming "terrorist groups" with the aim of destabilising the country, as Iranian warships docked at the port of Tartus in a show of force.

Despite a weekend appeal by a visiting Chinese envoy in Damascus for the violence to stop, monitors said regime forces targeted the central city of Homs for a 17th straight day.

Attacks there claimed 12 of the 24 lives lost - 19 civilians and five soldiers - across the country on Monday, according to reports by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and state media.

Four people died, including three children from the same family, when rockets hit the Al-Malaab district of the main rebel stronghold in Homs, said the Britain-based Observatory.

The official SANA news agency said a lieutenant colonel and a sergeant were killed in a clash with an "armed terrorist group" in Athraya, central Hama province.

"The International Committee of the Red Cross is exploring several possibilities for delivering urgently needed humanitarian aid," said ICRC spokesman Bijan Farnoudi.

"These include the cessation of fight and ICRC access to the people in need."ing in the most affected areas to facilitate swift Syrian Arab Red Crescent. (AFP)