Syria’s Baba Amr Is Deserted, Red Cross Says

by
March 8, 2012

 By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY Associated Press

The U.N. humanitarian chief toured the shattered Syrian district of Baba Amr on Wednesday but found most residents had fled following a bloody military siege, while activists accused the government of trying to cover up evidence of atrocities there.

The monthlong crackdown on the rebellious Homs neighborhood brought international condemnation, and the top U.S. military leader said Wednesday that President Barach Obama has asked the Pentagon for a preliminary review of military options in Syria.

These include enforcement of a no-fly zone and humanitarian airlifts, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate. However, both he and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Obama still believes that economic sanctions and international diplomatic isolation were the best ways to pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad into handing over power.

Wednesday’s visit to Baba Amr by the U.N. humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, was the first by an independent outside observer since the Syrian military began its month-long assault of the rebellious neighborhood. A key stronghold of the uprising against Assad, it was wrested from rebel control on March 1.

To read more, visit: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/humanitarian-chief-enters-besieged-syrian-area-15868314#.T1gRjvGvi7h

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