Syria’s Baba Amr is deserted, Red Cross says

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A Free Syrian Army fighter poses for the picture in Idlib, north Syria, Wednesday, March 7, 2012.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

BEIRUT — The U.N. humanitarian chief toured the shattered Syrian district of Baba Amr on Wednesday but found residents had fled after a bloody military siege, while activists accused the government of hiding evidence of atrocities there.

“They haven’t let anyone in for a week, and now they are going to let them in?” Homs activists Tarek Badrakhan told The Associated Press. “Today it’s simple: They finished their crimes and hid all the proof. Now they think they can show that everything is normal.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lashed out at the delays in letting aid workers in.

“The regime’s refusal to allow humanitarian workers to help feed the hungry, tend to the injured, bury the dead, marks a new low,” she said. “Tons of food and medicine are standing by while more civilians die and the regime launches new assaults.”

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said the aim of her two-day visit to Syria was “to urge all sides to allow unhindered access for humanitarian relief workers so they can evacuate the wounded and deliver essential supplies.” She met with Syria’s foreign minister, but it was unclear whether she would be allowed to return to Baba Amr or deliver any aid. In Washington, Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee the Pentagon has done a commander’s assessment focused on mission, enemy, terrain, troops and time, at Obama’s request, and would be ready if a decision were made for military action in Syria. After seizing Baba Amr from the rebels, regime forces now appear to be turning their attention to other rebellious areas. A wave of new arrests was reported in Homs by the Local Coordinating Committees, an activist group, as well as assaults on the northern province of Idlib near Turkey.

Printed on Thursday, March 8, 2012 as: Syria allows aid, Obama requests military report