Syrian forces bombard dissident town; some ICRC aid delivered
The Red Cross was still trying Sunday to gain access to a battered neighbourhood in the central province of Homs, even as Syrian government troops pounded other parts of the province and at least one other city, dpa reported.
However, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Sunday that it has been able to deliver aid to people in Abel, a town around 3 kilometres from Homs.
The aid group has been waiting for a go-ahead from the government to enter Baba Amr, the district of Homs that was devastated in fighting last week, to deliver humanitarian and medical supplies.
An aid convoy of seven trucks has been blocked since Friday from going into Baba Amr, which the opposition says has been shattered by almost a month of government shelling.
Syrian authorities have cited security reasons for barring the Red Cross convoy from the district.
Meanwhile, troops used planes and fired artillery shells in their attack on other rebel positions in the town, added the activists.
The opposition Local Coordination Committees said that seven people, including five children, were killed in the shelling in Homs' al-Rastan town.
The province of Homs has been a rallying point for rebels against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad since a popular uprising started in March 2011.
The LCC said that at least 33 people were killed across Syria on Sunday.
Government troops and defectors clashed Sunday in the town of Jabal al-Zawiya, close to the border with Turkey, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
One soldier was killed and several dissidents injured in the fighting, which followed an attack by a group of defectors on a checkpoint in the area, added the London-based observatory.
State-run media said that 16 security and military personnel, killed by "armed terrorist groups" in several areas of Syria, were buried on Sunday.
The soldiers were killed while on duty in the volatile provinces of Daraa, Homs and Idlib, according to SANA news agency.
According to the observatory, at least 8,250 have been killed since the government crackdown began against protesters demanding the ouster of al-Assad.