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Homs Aid Convoy Hit By Mortar Fire

An elderly civilian sits with his belongings as he waits to be evacuated from a besieged area of Homs on February 7.
An elderly civilian sits with his belongings as he waits to be evacuated from a besieged area of Homs on February 7.
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A humanitarian aid convoy driving into the besieged Syrian city of Homs turned back after it was hit by mortar fire that caused damage and at least one casualty.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent said the convoy delivering aid to civilians trapped in Homs was hit and at least one truck driver was wounded on February 8.

That group said it did manage to deliver 250 food parcels and 190 packages of detergents and medicines earlier on February 8 before the attack.

Syrian state TV reported that two trucks were damaged and four paramedics from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were injured.

The shelling broke a UN-brokered humanitarian truce agreed to in Geneva last month. It came one day after 83 women, children, and elderly people in wheelchairs were evacuated from besieged rebel-held parts of Homs.

It was not clear who fired at the humanitarian convoy. The Syrian government and opposition blamed each other.

The incident brought an end to a three-day cease-fire that was laboriously negotiated in Geneva by international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and that was meant as an initial confidence-building measure.

Instead, the violence has heightened suspicions and accusations ahead of the next round of the Geneva peace conference, which is scheduled to bring Syrian government and opposition delegates to Geneva on February 10.

Meanwhile, new attacks with helicopter-launched barrel bombs killed at least 20 people in the northern city of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Similar attacks were also reported on the southern city of Daraya.

In related news, Russia has dismissed a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding full access for aid workers across Syria. The draft -- submitted by Australia, Luxembourg, and Jordan -- was rejected on February 7 by Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, who called it "a nonstarter."

The draft reportedly condemns rights abuses and indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

It also urges an end to sieges and the demilitarization of schools and hospitals -- along with the lifting of bureaucratic blocks on aid deliveries.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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