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Red Cross aids war-torn Syria despite blockades

Despite government blocks, the Red Cross handed out supplies to families in the war-torn central Homs province Sunday.

March 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Red Cross teams began handing out food, blankets and medical kits to families in the war-torn central Homs province on Sunday.

Government forces have been blocking humanitarian access to neighborhoods since Friday when troops seized the area from rebels following nearly a month of intense fighting.

"The needs are so far mainly in the forms of food and also blankets because of the cold," ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan said.

While the Red Cross continued to appeal for unfettered access to Homs, workers focused on distributing aid in the village of Abel, about two miles from Homs. They hope to distribute aid in the neighborhoods of Inshaat and Tawzii on Monday.

Hundreds of people have died, some as they left their homes to forage for food, according to activists.

Homs has emerged as a central battleground in the conflict, which started last March with protests calling for the ouster of authoritarian President Bashar Assad in some of the country's impoverished hinterlands.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.