Clashes in Syria left 114 people killed on Thursday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that the rise in death toll has made this the bloodiest day in the country since the beginning of the ceasefire, as Russia acknowledged on Thursday that it has been trying to send repaired combat helicopters to Syria.
Foreign minister of Russia Segei Lavrov has confirmed in an interview with the Russian radio station Echo Moskvy for the first time that the cargo ship MV Alaed, which is now headed back to Russia, was carrying repaired Russian attack helicopters and said it would continue to carry out arms contracts with Assad’s government despite widespread condemnation.
The ship is scheduled to arrive Saturday in the Russian port of Murmansk, which is near its northern border with Finland, where it will drop its Curacao flag and re-register as a Russian ship.
Meanwhile, Aid workers hoping to evacuate trapped civilians and wounded were unable to enter hard-hit areas of the Syrian city of Homs on Thursday due to an “unclear” security situation and have returned to Damascus, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said, according to Reuters.
“After having attempted to go into the old city of Homs this morning, the team decided to turn back to Homs city due to shooting…Later on the team concluded that the security situation was too unclear for us to go in,” ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan told Reuters in Geneva.
Homs is the center of the 15-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad with forces increasing efforts to crush the uprising. The United Nations says more than 10,000 people have been killed by Assad’s forces during the conflict while opposition groups say more than 15000 have been killed.