UN Humanitarian Chief Tours Homs

As Syrian regime tries to scrub shattered city
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2012 9:40 AM CST
UN Humanitarian Chief Tours Homs
A view of a deserted street strewn with debris in the restive city of Homs, February 25, 2012.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos arrived in Damascus to begin her tour of Syria today, and is now touring the flashpoints of Homs and Baba Amr, the BBC reports. The Assad regime was moving desperately to clean up evidence of the recent shelling assault on the city ahead of her arrival; state-run TV showed bulldozers and soldiers cleaning the streets of Baba Amr, but the New York Times describes a more "violent mopping-up operation" as well, with mass arrests and occasional executions.

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Amos says her goal is to "urge all sides to allow unhindered access for humanitarian relief workers." The regime has barred the International Committee of the Red Cross from entering Baba Amr, citing security concerns, but Amos is being accompanied by the Red Crescent. Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports have Syrian tanks moving on to Idlib, which some fear could be the next Homs. China has also announced that it is pulling its workers out of Syria for their own safety. (Read more Syria stories.)

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