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Syria: Mortar Fire in Homs as U.N. Aid Mission Begins

<p>Aid distribution began in the besieged city Saturday, despite mortar fire in violation of a cease-fire.</p>
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International aid workers came under mortar fire Saturday in the besieged Syrian city of Homs in violation of a three-day humanitarian cease-fire, but they said they were able to deliver their critical food and medical supplies.

One driver was slightly injured and two trucks were damaged and left behind in the wake of the attack on at least nine Red Crescent and U.N. vehicles Saturday morning, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Organization said in postings on its website and social media.

The teams took shelter for several hours before managing to pull out shortly before 10 p.m. (5 p.m. ET), the Red Crescent said.

"Although the team was shelled and fired upon we managed to deliver 250 food parcels [and] 190 hygiene kits and chronic disease medicines," it said.

It was the first shipment of aid to the Old City district since mid-2012.

The state news agency SANA quoted the governor of Homs, Talal al-Barazi, as saying "armed terrorist groups broke the truce this morning in the Old City of Homs, firing mortars at the police building."

Syrian authorities describe all armed opposition against President Bashar Assad as terrorism.

Meanwhile, Syria's opposition coalition described the three-day U.N. operation as "a cosmetic and incomplete response" by government forces, which have surrounded the city for more than a year.

"The regime will soon find a way to shirk its responsibilities and renege on the [cease-fire] deal," it said in a statement.

Ammar Cheikhomar and Reuters contributed to this report.