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Al-Waer citizens receive aid at a price

FALSE PROMISES: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) […]

20 October 2014

FALSE PROMISES: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Sunday delivered medical aid to the embattled neighborhood Al-Waer, the last rebel-held part of Homs city for the first time in a month, but residents say it is not nearly enough.

“The medicine that enters Al-Waer comes about once a month,” an activist who works with the Homs Media Center in Al-Waer told Syria Direct Monday. 

The ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent said in a statement they had delivered chronic disease medicine to more than 5,000 people in Al-Waer.

Many of the citizens in Al-Waer suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and high blood pressure, all of which have been exacerbated by infrequent access to proper medicine and the effects of war.

But the medical supplies go through a network of backroom deals before reaching needy citizens, said the activist, who asked to remain unnamed.

“The medicine is [mostly] distributed to pharmacies inside Al-Waer, that then sell it to citizens except when charities [inside Al-Waer] purchase the medicine themselves and give it to the sick,” he said.

The accusations could not be independently verified, but other stories about backroom deals during aid transfers into Al-Waer are common in the opposition media. Last month, pro-opposition news agency Step Agency News reported that regime security officers benefited financially by allowing aid into the neighborhood.

That report was also unconfirmed.

Truce talks between the besieged rebels in Al-Waer and the rest of regime-controlled Homs have been off and on for several months. Last week, the regime escalated its attack against the neighborhood following public outrage against two car bombs in a regime-controlled Homs neighborhood that killed dozens of children in early October.

-October 20, 2014

-Photo courtesy of @ICRC/A.Mohanna.

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