Mar
04

Syria: Red Cross tries again to enter Baba Amr – live updates

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• Bodies of Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik flown to Paris
• Paul Conroy recounts tunnel escape on a motorbike
• China proposes ceasefire and talks

10.23am: Mulham al-Jundi, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council, continues to highlight the humanitarian crisis in Homs in Twitter updates from the city.

We r freezing in #Homs twitter.com/MulhamJundi/st…

— Mulham Al-Jundi (@MulhamJundi) March 4, 2012

من هنا مر جيش بشار اﻷسد…… twitter.com/MulhamJundi/st…

— Mulham Al-Jundi (@MulhamJundi) March 4, 2012

10.09am: The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been delivering aid to a village 3km from Homs, and hopes to enter Baba Amr today, a spokesman told the Guardian.

Later today the organisations plan to deliver more aid, in the form of food parcels and first aid kits, to the neighbourhood of Insha’at, which borders Baba Amr, said Sean Maguire, spokesman for the ICRC.

9.46am: (all times GMT) Welcome to a Sunday edition of Middle East Live. The Red Cross is still trying to enter Baba Amr after being denied access to the devastated area since it fell to the Syrian army.

Here’s a roundup of the latest developments:

Syria

The International Red Cross is to attempt to deliver aid to the devastated Baba Amr district of the Syrian city of Homs after being barred from the area since the Syrian army seized control on Thursday, the BBC reports. A spokesman said the Red Cross would resume negotiations with officials who barred its convoy on Saturday. Syrian authorities had said the area was being cleared of booby traps.

Paul Conroy, the photographer wounded in the attack that killed his colleague Marie Colvin, has recounted his escape from the besieged city of Homs. He told the Sunday Times that he got out on a motorbike in a tunnel.

Syria’s ally China has called for an immediate ceasefire and talks by all parties, as part of a six-point plan for ending the crisis. The proposal, released by the foreign ministry, comes as United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon is calling on Syrian president Bashar Assad’s government to allow immediate access to humanitarian workers amid the military crackdown against anti-government groups.

The bodies of Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin and photographer Remi Ochlik have been flown to Paris. The two were killed on an attack on a makeshift media centre in Baba Amr, last month.

Turkey has called the violence in Syria “a crime against humanity” on the scale of the 1990s bloodshed in the Balkans. Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said:

No government, no authority, under no circumstances, can endorse such a total massacre of its own people. The international community must speak louder. The lack of international consensus is giving Syria the courage to continue.

French journalist Edith Bouvier feared her escape from Homs had come to an end after the tunnel through which she was smuggled came under bombardment from Assad’s forces. Her leg broken by a shell, which killed Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Rémi Ochlik days earlier, Bouvier was abandoned, taped to a makeshift stretcher, as rebels and dozens of wounded fled the explosions and headed back to Baba Amr district. “One of them placed his Kalashnikov on me. He put his hand on my head and said a prayer. It wasn’t very reassuring. Then he left,” Bouvier told Le Figaro newspaper, for which she was working in Syria.

Iran

Conservative rivals of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appear on course to gain firm control of the Iranian parliament, according to early election results. In a huge embarrassment to the president, his younger sister Parvin Ahmadinejad was defeated by a conservative rival in their hometown of Garmsar. Of 197 winners declared by midday Saturday, at least 102 were conservatives who turned against Ahmadinejad after he openly challenged the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Libya

Video footage has been released showing graves in a British military cemetery in Libya being destroyed by what appears to be an Islamist militia.

The video, shot by the militia themselves, shows more than 30 armed men kicking down the gravestones of British servicemen while comrades use sledgehammers to break the cenotaph.

Matthew Weaver

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from Matthew Weaver

via http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/mar/04/syria-red-cross-bab-amr-live

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