Red Cross resumes evacuation of people from Homs, Syria (VIDEO)
It made a new attempt on Saturday to evacuate people who are trapped, two of whom are wounded Western journalists, according to Agence France Presse.
The Red Cross has been attempting to evacuate "everyone who needs it" from the Baba Amr district of Homs since Friday afternoon. That is according to the organization’s representative whose email was cited by Guardian.
"ICRC and SARC [Students for the American Red Cross] are in Bab Amr since this afternoon and are negotiating with the Syrian authorities and the opposition in an attempt to evacuate everyone who needs it without exception," said the email.
The ICRC officials are also negotiating with both the Syrian authorities and the rebels in order to evacuate those wounded, including foreign journalists, Le Figaro contributor Edith Bouvier and photographer Paul Conroy, as well as another photographer William Daniels, who managed to escape the shelling without injury.
The three survived a devastating attack that claimed the lives of two other journalists on Wednesday, an American-born veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik. The journalists are asking for help to leave the embattled city.
French foreign minister Alain Juppe said on Friday that the Homs governor and the Red Cross are working together to evacuate the wounded journalists.
"I have asked the Syrian authorities for our ambassador to go there. This authorization was not accepted, but the governor of Homs is working with the Red Cross to make this (evacuation) happen as quickly as possible," Juppe told a meeting of the "Friends of Syria" group in Tunis, according to Reuters.
A Red Cross team initially evacuated seven people from Baba Amr. The ICRC said their local team had entered the neighborhood and transferred seven people to a nearby private hospital. A further 20 women and children were later taken to "a safe area," said ICRC chief spokeswoman Carla Haddad as quoted by Reuters.
"It's a first step forward," she said. "The priority now is evacuating the seriously wounded or sick.”
The spokeswoman added that the ICRC is continuing discussions to resume the operation on Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, the activist group Avaaz gave higher numbers of those evacuated. It says the Syrian Red Crescent had evacuated 40 wounded residents from Baba Amr.
The foreign journalists were not among those evacuated. The Syrian Foreign Ministry accused "armed groups" of refusing to hand over the Western journalists, while rebel sources state the journalists had refused to leave.