12 February 2014
The driver of a Red Crescent vehicle was wounded on Saturday when a humanitarian convoy came under attack in Syria.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) was bringing essential aid to civilians in the old city area of Homs, which has been affected by heavy fighting for almost two years, when the driver was injured.
The convoy had entered the city after hours of negotiation.
Despite Saturday’s attack on trucks clearly marked with the red crescent emblem, SARC volunteers were able to hand out 250 food parcels, 190 hygiene kits, and medicine for chronic diseases.
Emblems must be respected
A news release from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement said it was deeply concerned by the lack of respect for the red cross and red crescent emblems, and the frequent threat to the lives of medical and other humanitarian personnel.
The statement added that without respect for these emblems and protection of those bearing them, crossing frontlines to save lives is all but impossible.
SARC president Abdul Rahman al-Attar said: “Given the extremely difficult conditions prevailing in Syria today, especially in towns like Homs, it is absolutely vital for all parties to the conflict to facilitate the work of all humanitarian and health-care personnel.
“They must respect the red crescent and red cross emblems displayed on tents, buildings, vehicles and clothing and spare those bearing them.”
Robert Mardini, International Committee of the Red Cross head of operations for the Near and Middle East, stressed that much greater access to health care for the sick and wounded must be a priority for all. He also said civilians in areas caught up in fighting must be allowed to leave for safer areas if they wish.
Help for Barzeh and Yarmouk refugee camp
Elsewhere in Syria, aid workers have managed to obtain access to Barzeh in the suburbs of Damascus for 47 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid.
And at Yarmouk refugee camp Red Crescent workers have given first aid to the wounded and emotional support to people deeply traumatized by violence, and evacuated people with severe injuries and health problems to medical facilities outside the camp.