The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Saturday it was still negotiating with Syrian authorities who have denied its aid convoy access to the shattered Baba Amro district of Homs.
An ICRC convoy of seven trucks carrying food and other life-saving relief supplies, joined by Red Crescent ambulances to evacuate the sick and wounded, has been stalled in the city of Homs since arriving there on Friday.
The ICRC and Syrian Red Crescent are not yet in Baba Amro today (Saturday). We are still in negotiations with authorities in order to enter Baba Amro. It is important that we enter today, ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan told Reuters in Geneva.
ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger, in a statement issued on Friday after waiting all day for Syrian authorities to grant entry to the team, said the delay was unacceptable as civilians had waited for weeks for emergency assistance.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday he had received grisly reports Syrian government forces were arbitrarily executing, imprisoning and torturing people in the battle-scarred city of Homs after rebel fighters had fled.
Wounded British photographer Paul Conroy, who escaped Homs earlier this week, said he had witnessed Syrian troops carrying out a massacre in the Baba Amro district, which had become a symbol of a year-long uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The ICRC is the only international agency to deploy aid workers in Syria, where the United Nations has been shut out.
The ICRC spokesman Hassan declined comment on Ban's remarks, but said: It is precisely to have a clearer understanding of the real size of the humanitarian problem that we need to get in.
On Thursday, Syrian authorities gave the ICRC positive signals regarding its public appeal of February 21 for a daily two-hour humanitarian ceasefire across Syria, he said.
It is still important that we implement this initiative urgently, he said.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Sophie Hares)