Syria: Shelling continues as Red Cross still awaits permission to enter Baba Amr

Round up of the latest developments in Syria

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross has delivered aid to two neighbourhoods in Homs, but has not been able to enter Baba Amr.
  • The Whatsapp phone application which allows owners of smartphones to exchange messages has now been blocked in Syria.
  • Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria will travel to Damascus on Saturday for talks with Syrian government in a bid to put an end to the crisis. After being denied entry last week, the UN's humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, was granted authorization to enter Syria. She will start a three-day visit on Wednesday.
  • France urged Vladimir Putin on Monday to mark his return to the Russian presidency by dropping Moscow's support for Bashar al-Assad's regime and backing international pressure on Syria.
  • As Amos and Annan are set to enter Syria, Syrian authorities have started to "remove debris" from the streets in Baba Amr, Homs.

  • 18:00 Massive demonstration happening now in Deir ezzor.

    17:53 The following video reportedly shows defecting soldiers announcing the formation of the free Alawites brigade in Idlib.

    17:15 We were reporting earlier about the town of Yabroud being storm by security forces earlier today. The following video reportedly shows several army tanks entering the town.

    17:11 France urged Vladimir Putin on Monday to mark his return to the Russian presidency by dropping Moscow's support for Bashar al-Assad's regime and backing international pressure on Syria, has reported AFP.

    "Russia has totally isolated itself from the rest of the international community," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe warned, urging Putin "now the elections have passed... to revisit Russia's Syria policy."

    "If we could quickly get a [UN] Security Council resolution that orders Damascus to halt the violence, allow access for humanitarian aid and put the Arab League peace plan into effect, that would be real progress," he said.

    "It's not impossible, we're going to work on it in the coming days."

    16:54 Syrian officials said the ICRC will be allowed to enter Baba Amr on Tuesday, has reported the British Solidarity for Syria, an initiative set up by British Syrians. They tweeted:

    "Red Cross will be 'allowed entry to Baba Amr on Tuesday' claimed Syrian officials citing safety concerns. #Homs

    16:25 In a video of his interview for Al-Jazeera Abu Jafaar, an activist said 10 buses from Alawite areas which transported pro-regime civilians and Shabbiha (men dressed like civilians who work for the regime) are heading to Baba Amr to stage pro-Assad protest.

    16:06 The Whatsapp phone application which allows owners of smartphone to exchange messages has now been blocked in Syria, have reported Al-Jazeera.

    The official WhatsApp twitter account tweeted: "We are told that WhatsApp is now being blocked in Syria. A blow to free speech and open communications everywhere. Sad day for freedom."

    15:48 Several media have reported last night and this morning that 13 French soldiers have been captured in Syria. Although the UN has not agreed on a military intervention a Lebanese media, which published the story first, says it is possible that troops have already entered the country. The group of soldiers is reportedly held in a field hospital in the city of Homs.

    The Lebanese media say it is not clear why they were in Syria, when they arrived or whether they were part of a larger contingent in the city. The information has yet been confirmed as France foreign ministry denied the presence of French troops on the Syrian ground.

    Sources told the Lebanese media that Paris was negotiating the release of the soldiers.

    15:25 As UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has been granted an authorization to enter Syria on Wednesday and as Kofi Annan, UN-Arab league envoy, in expected in Syria on March 10, activists claim that members of Assad regime are cleaning up the streets of Insha'at, a neighbourhood in Homs in order to hide "signs of its criminal activity before the Red Cross enters." They are reportedly "restoring buildings and paving roads". @ Samsomhoms who is in Homs tweeted:

    "@ Samsomhoms #Assad forces restoring buildings & paving roads here in #Inshaat of #Homs today to hide signs of their crimes & destruction #syria"

    "@ Samsomhoms #Assad regime is cleaning up #Inshaat to hide signsof its criminal activity before the #RedCross enters. #Syria #Homs"

    Here is a video of the destruction in Insha'at in Homs.

    14:56 UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, whose entry to Syria was denied last week, has now been given an authorization to visit the country by the Syrian regime. She is expected to visit Syria from Wednesday to Friday this week. (REUTERS)

    The Syrian government also said that it welcomed the visit of Kofi Annan, UN-Arab league, envoy who is expected to visit Syria on March 10.

    14:45 A source told AFP this morning that Turkey was considering whether to invite France to the next meeting of the "Friends of Syria" which will take place this month. "We haven't sent any invitation to any country yet but we are considering whether to invite France," the source told AFP.

    This statement comes as the French Constitutional Council rejected last week the bill making denial of genocides, including the Armenian Genocide, a criminal offence. A new bill should be introduced within the next few months.

    The second "Friends of Syria" conference will be held late March.

    14:34 BBC reports today about Syrian refugees who told their story. The latter accuse "the security forces of committing atrocities", including "summary executions and cutting the throats of prisoners."

    14:22 The ICRC said a convoy from Damascus arrived in Homs earlier today. They tweeted:

    "@icrc_english An ICRC aid convoy from #Damascus, #Syria carrying food, blankets and mattresses for several thousand people arrived in #Homs earlier today."

    14:16 Members of the Red Crescent and ICRC teams are delivering help to residents in Al Inshaat and Al Tawzih, neighbourhoods of Homs.

    14:08 Footage reportedly showing an apartment building on fire after it was shelled by security forces in Jeb Gandali, Homs.

    13:55 Channel 4 reports on Monday about Syrian doctors torturing patients in hospitals in Syria.

    The video reportedly shows wounded men, blindfolded and attached to their beds. Channel 4 reports that the men in the video "bear marks of extreme beating". The employee who filmed those images says "I have seen detainees being tortured by electrocution, whipping, beating with batons, and by breaking their legs. They twist the feet until the leg breaks," he told "Mani", a French photojournalist, quoted by Channel 4. "They perform operations without anaesthetics [...] I saw them slamming detainees' heads against walls. They shackle the patients to beds. They deny them water. Others have their penises tied to stop them from urinating." The employee says he saw civilians and military surgeons as well as other medical staff abusing patients.

    13:19 An oil pipeline has exploded in the Al-Qouriya town of Deir azzor, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists.

    Midday round up

  • Kofi Annan, UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, will visit Damascus on March 10, said Nabil el-Arabi, Arab League Secretary-General, reports Reuters.
  • The International committees of the Red Cross are still awaiting an authorization to enter the neighbourhood of Baba Amr. Meanwhile the Red Cross and the Red Cross have been delivering aid in neighbouring areas such as Abel.
  • The French airline company Air France has cancelled its Paris-Damascus flight on Monday and Tuesday due to unrest. No decisions has yet been made for flights scheduled for the rest of the week.
  • More than 2,000 Syrian civilians from Baba Amr fled Syria and entered Lebanon on Sunday.
  • The town of Rastan, north of Homs has been heavily shelled this morning causing the death of 7 people including 3 children and two women (see 9:36)

  • 12:58 Footage reportedly showing massive demonstration in Ahlbit, Idlib.

    12:51 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has congratulated Vladimir Putin for his Sunday victory. The former prime minister was elected president on Sunday with 64 % of the votes.

    12:45 Despite shelling in Syria, protests continue across the country in solidarity with besieged city.

    Footage reportedly showing a protest at Aleppo University.

    Footage reportedly showing a protest in Sora, Deraa.

    12:36 Kofi Annan, UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, will visit Damascus on March 10, said Nabil el-Arabi, Arab League Secretary-General. (REUTERS)

    11:29 Syrian military air force is bombing areas in the town of Yabroud near Damascus, say activists.

    11:23 We just reported about Syrian forces dispersing a funeral procession, the following video reportedly shows mourners being fired at in Deraa.

    11:13 At Aleppo University military forces have made to several arrests this morning, reported the LCCS. Students were also reportedly beaten. More security forces were deployed around the campus in a bit to prevent anti-regime demonstration.

    In Deraa, Syrian forces dispersed a funeral procession firing at mourners.

    11:04 According to activists the Syrian air force is now bombing areas at around the city of Rastan, north of Homs.

    10:59 For the first time since the beginning of the protests in Syria, Airlines Company Air France has cancelled its Paris-Damascus flight scheduled on Monday, have reported AFP.

    The return flight from Damascus to Paris scheduled on Tuesday, has also been cancelled. For the rest of the flights scheduled throughout this week no decision has yet been made.

    10:40 This video posted on Youtube reportedly shows members of the Syrian army abusing civilians. The soldiers are seen kicking them and jumping on their bodies as they are lying on the floor.

    10:32 As the ICRC is still awaiting for permission to enter Baba Amr, the Red Crescent and the Red Cross are delivering aid in Abel, a town located 3kms outside Homs. British Red Cross tweeted:

    ‏"@BritishRedCross Red Cross / Red Crescent are distributing aid in Abel, 3km outside of #Homs, #Syria. Still hoping to access #BabaAmr soon"

    10:21 More than 2,000 Syrian civilians from Baba Amr fled Syria entered Lebanon on Sunday, said Wael Abu Faour, Minister of Social Affairs on Monday. Since the regular army has regained control of Baba Amr last week it has been carrying out 'execution-style killings' say activists.

    10:15The Syrian Observatory Human rights reports that the Syrian Army soldiers have conducted raids and proceeded to arrests in the neighbourhood of Jubre in Homs since early this morning. Jubre is neighbouring Baba Amr, under the control of the Syrian forces their since last week.

    9:54 Activists report that regime forces are burning the bodies of the people who have been arrested then executed in Baba Amr to "cover up their crimes." This video reportedly shows the smoke of fire which the security forces started to burn the victims’ corpses.

    9:36 An opposition organisation publishes a statement this morning about a 'massacre' that took place in the city of Rastan, north of Homs.

    A new massacre took place today in Arrastan city; since early morning hours the city's homes and residents were barraged by the regime's shelling. According to the activists in Arrastan, three war airplanes were flying above the city and were barraging the city with shells and rockets randomly. In results, at least seven citizens were killed, 5 children and 2 women. This happened to be the second massacre which the regime committed within 48 hours in the same city. Noting that the city is under unremitting siege from all directions and has been like that for few months now; residents are not allowed in or out of it and people are living under severely deteriorating humanitarian conditions with extreme shortage of food and medicine while electricity and communication means are disconnected.

    A crowd of people was hit by a shell on Friday killing 16 people.

    This video is showing a girl who was rescued out of the rubbles while she was in shock, it also shows a 6 years old boy, Muhammad Ayoub who has nothing left of his body except his head in the arms of a family member.


    9:29 The Irish Government has pledged €500000 in emergency aid to help civilians affected by the ongoing crisis in Syria. The funds will be made available to the Red Cross and United Nations agencies operating in Syria.

    Photo courtesy of Al-Jundi Mulham

    Round up of the latest developments in Syria

  • 62 people have died on Sunday according to the Local coordination committees. This includes 7 children, 3 women and 1 person who was tortured to death, say the LCCS.
    17 people have died in Homs, 6 of whom were executed in Baba Amr neighbourhood, claim the LCCS. 18 were killed in Hama, including 13 who were “massacred” in the area of Har Benafsah. 12 have died in Damascus Suburbs, 4 in Deraa, 5 in Idlib, 2 in Damascus, 2 in Aleppo, one in Banyas and one in Deir Ezzor,Idlib.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Monday it is still waiting for an authorization from the Syrian authorities to enter Baba Amr. Despite the fact they were given the 'green light' to enter Baba Amr on Friday, members of the ICRC have not been able to enter Baba Amr, which has been shelled unabated for .
  • China says it will send another envoy to Syria in order to convince the Syrian government of the need for a ceasefire.It is former ambassador to Syria Li Huaqing who will visit Damascus on Tuesday and Wednesday. China also reasserted that they stood strongly against foreign intervention.
  • Russia will meet with foreign ministers of Arab states to discuss the Syria crisis in Cairo on March 10, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

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