Beirut: The Red Cross on Tuesday called for a
daily two-hour cease-fire in Syria so that it can deliver
emergency aid and reach people who are wounded or sick, an
appeal that came as government troops heavily shelled
rebellious districts in the resistance stronghold of Homs,
killing at least 30 people.
Activists said the intense shelling of Baba Amr in Homs
lasted a few hours but did not seem to be the start of a
widely expected military offensive aimed at retaking
rebel-held neighborhoods in the central region. Many of the 30
people killed were children, activists said, warning that Homs
is already facing a humanitarian catastrophe.
The attacks compounded fears of a new round of bloody
urban combat in a country careening toward all-out civil war.
"The current situation requires an immediate decision to
implement a humanitarian pause in the fighting," said Jakob
Kellenberger, the president of the Geneva-based International
Committee of the Red Cross.
"In Homs and in other affected areas, entire families
have been stuck for days in their homes, unable to step
outside to get bread, other food or water, or to obtain
medical care," he said in a statement.
The Red Cross said Monday that it has been negotiating
with Syrian authorities and members of the opposition to agree
a temporary cease-fire so that emergency aid can reach
beleaguered parts of the country.
"It should last at least two hours every day, so that
ICRC staff and Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers have enough
time to deliver aid and evacuate the wounded and the sick,"