Friday February 24, 2012
AVAAZ BREAKING NEWS:
Desperate Syrians trapped in Baba Amr – western journalists refuse to leave
- Avaaz calls for humanitarian ceasefire and immediate ICRC access to Baba Amr to be granted
Avaaz can confirm that foreign journalists trapped in Baba Amr, two of them badly wounded, refused to leave the besieged neighbourhood without ICRC and foreign diplomatic presence, and a commitment to a full humanitarian ceasefire. Two of the journalists, Edith Bouvier and Paul Conroy, need urgent medical care. The bodies of slain journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik remain in Baba Amr.
The Syrian Red Crescent has evacuated 10 wounded residents and 30 women and children from the besieged Baba Amr. The Homs Revolutionary Council and the local FSA allowed four Syrian Red Crescent ambulances to enter the area, despite the widespread distrust of the SRC. Members of the ICRC were waiting for the evacuated wounded outside of Baba Amr to ensure proper treatment and safe passage for the wounded.
A French and ICRC plan to get international medical teams into Baba Amr to extract the foreign journalists and tend to the neighborhood’s most badly wounded was rejected by the Assad government. Instead a local medical team from the Syrian Red Crescent was authorized to go in. Assad’s forces have bombarded Homs for three straight weeks. Hundreds of civilians have died in the shelling and necessities, like food, cooking fuel and blood bags have run out. An impromptu press center was deliberately targeted by military shelling on Wednesday morning. That attack killed Marie and Remi and left Paul and Edith badly injured. William Daniels and Javier Espinosa are unharmed.
Alice Jay campaign director at Avaaz, said: “It is about time the seriously injured and most vulnerable are being evacuated but this stop gap measure is little more than political cover for the clawing Assad regime. The evacuated wounded represent a tiny fraction of the neighborhood’s desperate thousands. The shelling needs to stop now. What is needed an immediate ceasefire, a safe, secure humanitarian corridor out of Homs, and full ICRC access according to international law. Token gestures must be replaced by meaningful humanitarian action.”
Avaaz is calling for the following measures to be immediately implemented:
- Immediate end to indiscriminate shelling of Baba Amr
- Complete and unhindered ICRC access to Baba Amr
- The evacuation of all wounded from Baba Amr to hospitals, under close supervision by ICRC staff and foreign diplomats
- An immediate ceasefire agreed between government and opposition forces