[Updated at 3:29 p.m. ET] Rescue crews evacuated a few wounded and sick women and children from the besieged Syrian city of Homs, a spokeswoman for the International Committee for the Red Cross said Friday.
The Red Crescent evacuated 7 injured people from the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs on Friday, transporting them to the Al Amin hospital on the outskirts of the city, according to Hicham Hassan, Mideast spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Government forces have been shelling parts of the city – especially the neighborhood of Baba Amr, a bastion of anti-government sentiment – for about three weeks, damaging houses and other buildings and leaving many dead and wounded.
The shelling comes amid a nearly yearlong crackdown on people protesting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, activists have said.
In hard-hit Baba Amr, many homes have been destroyed by shelling, and streets were strewn with rubble, a CNN crew observed there last week. Hundreds have been living in makeshift shelters, having left their homes out of necessity or fear. The CNN crew reported that the shelters were running low on food, medical and other supplies.
Activists have reported several to tens of deaths daily in Homs since the shelling began three weeks ago.
The opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria claims more than 8,000 people have been killed throughout Syria since the uprising began last March.
Al-Assad has denied reports that his forces are targeting civilians, saying they are fighting armed gangs and foreign fighters bent on destabilizing the government. But many accounts inside the country say Syrian forces are killing civilians as part of a crackdown on anti-government opposition.
Friday's evacuations came as representatives of world powers met in Tunisia and called for a political solution in Syria, as well as what one diplomat called a "tsunami wave" of pressure that would peel away internal support for the embattled regime.FULL STORY