Video: Dozens evacuated from Syria

  1. Closed captioning of: Dozens evacuated from Syria

    >>> good evening. there is no question the government of syria has been firing relentlessly into civilian areas. it's so fierce, so random, journalists can't be near the worst to show the world how bad it is. seven journalists have died covering it. the battles know gruesome, there are negotiations under way to get syria to cease-fire to allow an open car door for humanitarian reasons, to allow the worst of the wounded a way out, evacuation route with the help of the red cross . that is apparently happening in one hard-hit city, but elsewhere the shooting goes on. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel on the syrian border with turkey to start us off. richard, good evening.

    >> reporter: hours before the evacuation, signs of how desperate syria had become. the free syrian army the rebel brigade tries to fight back. they attack government forces. it's a brave fight, but they're losing it. outnumbered and outgunned by a lot. and this morning, homs itself was once again under attack. witnesses describe neighborhoods on fire. people living on shrubs and onions, bodies unreachable under debris. we managed to reach an activist there via skype. he feared for his life.

    >> no one can protect themselves from shelling. i think i will die now.

    >> reporter: then an explosion, the line cut. hours later we learned he was okay. but pressure on syria to let up on homs may have been too much to ignore. in tan issia today, more than 60 nations gathered to call for an immediate cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid to reach homs .

    >> if the assad regime refuses to allow this life-saving aid to reach people in need , it will have even more blood on its hands. and so, too, will those nations that continue to protect and arm the regime.

    >> reporter: among those states, russia. today even it expressed concern about homs and support for a cease-fire. but a short cease-fire limited to homs to evacuate the worst off doesn't mean the conflict in syria is over. far it from. in a turkish village near the syrian border today, a funeral for an opposition fighter, at a hillside cemetery , they prayed for the martyr to enter heaven. as they buried him with shovels and bare hands. diplomacy too late for him. and tonight, brian, the red cross says dozens of people have already been evacuated from homs starting with women and children , but this seems to be mostly a tactical cease-fire a way for syria to buy time not end the conflict.

    >> richard engel , thanks.

msnbc.com news services
updated 2/24/2012 7:06:28 PM ET 2012-02-25T00:06:28

The first of the wounded and sick women and children trapped in the besieged Baba Amro district of Homs were evacuated on Friday as international pressure mounted on the Syrian government to call a cease-fire and allow in humanitarian aid.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the Syrian Arab Red Crescent initially brought out seven women and children and took them to a hospital in Homs.

A further 20 uninjured women and children were evacuated later and taken to "a safe area," ICRC chief spokeswoman Carla Haddad said.

"It's a first step forward," Haddad told Reuters. "The priority now is evacuating the seriously wounded or sick.

The Red Cross said Friday that aid workers are in the Syrian city of Homs negotiating with authorities and rebels to evacuate all wounded.

ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan told The Associated Press his group and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been in Baba Amr, the neighborhood in Homs that has become the center of the Syrian revolt, since Friday afternoon.

The Red Cross has appealed to Syria's government and opposition groups to allow daily two-hour cease-fires so it can deliver relief supplies and evacuate the wounded and sick.

But opposition groups had previously described the shelling as indiscriminate.

Syrian activists put the death toll at more than 7,300. Overall figures cannot be independently confirmed because of Syria's tight control on the media.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

© 2013 msnbc.com

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments