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Syrian Red Cross Begins Emergency Evacuations as Christians Await Help

Hillary Clinton Warns President Assad of Having 'More Blood on His Hands'

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By Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post Reporter
February 24, 2012|4:10 pm

The Red Cross has started evacuating women and children trapped in the crossfire between President Bashar al-Assad's supporters and rebel fighters in the city of Homs. Many Christians are also believed to still be trapped in the tumultuous city.

Homs, along with many other villages in the area, has become the battleground for Assad's supporters and rebels hoping to end five decades of Arab Socialist Ba'athist rule in the country, and has been under shell and rocket fire for over two weeks. Since August, the government crackdown on dissidents has progressively gotten worse, and with a recent Arab League pullout, some analysts have suggested that the country is on the brink of civil war.

Cities such as Homs are running out of basic necessities for residents, and people are losing their lives in the crossfire. According to the BBC, 7,000 people in the country have died since the uprising started in March last year, and more than 90 people lost their lives Thursday. Now, finally, Syrian Arab Red Crescent ambulances are evacuating women and children from besieged parts of the area in what is truly a crisis situation.

Besides residents, injured journalists are among those awaiting rescue – but it will take time to remove everyone from danger.

Delegates from 70 countries are currently meeting in Tunisia to address the issue and discuss ways to provide better access to life-saving aid.

The U.S. representative at the conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, warned the Syrian government that it would have "more blood on its hands" if it failed to allow in international help.

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An independent U.N. panel investigating the human rights situation in Syria released a detailed report Wednesday, saying that President Bashar al-Assad's security forces have committed gross violations of human rights with "impunity" since the Syrian uprising began.

The commission found that within recent months, the situation in Syria has become "increasingly violent and militarized."

Last week, a charity organization reported that Christians trapped in the shelling of Homs are in critical need of help.

Barnabas Aid, which is one of the few aid agencies helping Christians in Syria at this time, shared that as fighting intensifies from both sides, Christians in the surrounding villages – approximately 100,000 – are right in front of the firing line, many of them trapped in Homs.

"The armed Islamist Opposition in Syria has murdered more than 200 Christians in the city of Homs, including entire families with young children. These Islamic gangs kidnapped Christians and demanded high ransoms. In two cases, after the ransoms were paid, the men's bodies were found.

"Christians are being forced to flee the city to the safety of government controlled areas. Muslim rebel fighters and their families are taking over their homes. We need your prayers and we need them urgently," a representative of the organization pleaded.

As Barnabas Aid continues collecting money to help families in the region, hopes are that the Syrian Red Cross will also be able to help as many injured and needy people as possible.

 

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