Yesterday, the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) delivered humanitarian assistance to people in the Old City of Homs.
The assistance consisted of medical items for treating up to 100 wounded persons and medicines for chronic diseases. Food and hygiene items for over 1,200 people, as well as baby milk and diapers, were also delivered.
“We have entered Homs on several occasions in recent months, but this is the first time that we have been able to reach the neighbourhoods of Khalidiya and Hamidiya in the Old City,” said Marianne Gasser, head of the ICRC’s delegation in Syria.
Over the past few days, the ICRC has been in talks with both the Syrian authorities and various armed opposition groups about the provision of safe and unimpeded access to the Old City. Thanks to the acceptance and the facilitation of all concerned, the 34-member team that entered Khalidiya and Hamidiya was made up of 28 SARC volunteers and six ICRC staff members: there were a number of medical doctors among them.
"Hundreds of civilians have been unable to leave Khalidiya and Hamidiya for at least four months now," said Ms Gasser, who led the ICRC/SARC team in Homs. "Because of the ongoing armed confrontation, they are without a proper supply of food, medical items and other necessities.”
Since the beginning of the year, the ICRC, together with the SARC, has provided food for over a million people and essential household items for a quarter of a million. Over the same period, the ICRC and SARC have helped provide water for over a million people in the governorates of Damascus, Rural Damascus and Homs.
In accordance with international humanitarian law, the parties to the conflict must take all feasible precautions to protect the civilian population. This includes allowing civilians to move to safer areas, and facilitating the delivery of life-saving assistance. The wounded and the sick must also receive, to the fullest extent practicable and with the least possible delay, the medical care and attention they require.