Syria conflict: Aid workers restart Homs mission after mortar attack

Supplies were sent to over 2,500 people trapped by the brutal civil war

Aid workers restarted humanitarian operations in Homs on Sunday, a day after they came under mortar fire in the besieged rebel heart of the city, evacuating dozens of civilians and sending in supplies to 2,500 people trapped by the Syrian civil war.

The Governor of Homs, Talal al-Barazi, told Al Mayadeen television that 65 women, children and elderly men were able to leave the devastated neighbourhoods in central Homs.

Syrian state television said humanitarian supplies were also sent into districts where rebel fighters and civilians have been besieged for a year and a half, despite coming under fire from rebel forces.

It did not say whether anyone was hurt in the attack, which, if confirmed, would be a further violation of a three-day humanitarian ceasefire that expired on Sunday night.

The government and rebels have traded accusations of responsibility for attacks that stranded a joint United Nations and Syrian Red Crescent team in central Old Homs for several hours after dark on Saturday.

The convoy was targeted just as the relief workers were handing over food and medical supplies. The Red Crescent said one of its drivers was lightly wounded but the rest of the team eventually left safely.

Video footage released by activists showed the joint team, led by UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Syria Yacoub el Hillo, taking refuge in a basement while explosions rocked the rubble-strewn streets above them. In another video filmed inside Homs on Saturday, Mr Hillo said the aid supplies, including food parcels, medicines and hygiene kits, were just a drop in the ocean when set against the conditions endured by people trapped for a year and a half.

“When I look around me and see the level of need and suffering of all – especially the children, the women and the elderly – let me say that, even though it’s a significant amount of medical and nutritional aid, it’s still just a drop,” he said. “But let’s start with this drop.”

On Friday, in the first of the planned three-day humanitarian operation in Homs, 83 women, children and elderly men were evacuated, significantly fewer than the 200 the city’s Governor had predicted. Many showed signs of malnutrition, the UN said.

Syria’s conflict has killed 130,000, driven millions from their homes and devastated whole city districts – particularly in Homs, a centre of protest when the 2011 uprising against 40 years of Assad family rule first erupted.

The evacuation and delivery of aid was the first concrete, though modest, result of talks launched two weeks ago to try to end the civil war.

At the Geneva peace talks, which resume today, international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi has been pushing for agreement on aid deliveries and prisoner releases, hoping progress on those issues could build momentum to address the far more contentious question of political transition.

Activists reported on Sunday that at least 11 people were killed in the northern city of Aleppo when helicopters dropped barrel bombs on rebel-held neighbourhoods.

Read more:
Syria conflict: An ordinary family, a terrible war  

Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future