February 25, 2012
Under the protection of the United States, Turkey, Britain, France, Italy, Qatar and the UAE, the first Red Cross convoys reached Homs Friday, Feb. 24. They began evacuating untreated injured victims and bringing medical aid to the city devastated and beleaguered by Bashar Assad’s troops. This ICRC corridor marked the first step toward foreign intervention in the Syrian crisis.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report exclusively that it came about after Washington and Ankara warned Assad through confidential channels that if his forces interfered with the emergency medical route for Homs, US and Turkish warplanes would take off from air bases in East Turkey and give the medical convoys air cover, thereby opening the door for a Western-Arab plan for resolving the Syrian crisis (which was first revealed exclusively in DEBKA-Net-Weekly 530 out Friday, Feb. 23.)
Assad’s response to the warning is unknown.
Early Saturday, US President Barack Obama delivered his harshest denunciation yet of the Assad regime.
The International community must continue sending the message to Syria’s president to step down, and “use every tool available to prevent the slaughter of innocents. It is time for a transition and time for that regime to move on.”