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Human Rights Watch says the besieged city of Homs and its hard-hit neighborhood of Baba Amr have been hit indiscriminately with the largest mortar bomb ever made.
The Red Cross has begun the evacuation of a small number of wounded and sick women and children from Homs, the Syrian city that has suffered weeks of shelling by the Syrian regime, according to CNN.
Human Rights Watch today also accused the Syrian regime of indiscriminately attacking civilians with Russian-made 240mm F-864 high explosive mortar bombs, the world’s largest high-explosive mortar.
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The Associated Press reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross said later in the evening that the Red Cross had evacuated seven people to a hospital elsewhere in Homs from the heavily hit neighborhood of Baba Amr.
Citing observers, the human rights organization said that since Feb. 3, the Syrian army’s shelling of Homs had killed at least 373 people and wounded hundreds. The F-864 is designed to destroy “fortifications and fieldworks” according to Human Rights Watch, which cited YouTube video indicating that the mortar rounds have been used in Homs.
Prior to her death this week, American reporter Marie Colvin had reported that 14 shells had fallen on Baba Amr in the span of just 30 seconds.
Here is the Syrian YouTube video of mortars cited by Human Rights Watch:
“The indiscriminate attacks on populated areas with heavy-duty weapons in Homs and other cities demonstrate the price of blocking an international consensus to end the horrific human rights violations in Syria,” Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in the statement.
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According to CNN, a spokeswoman for the International Committee for the Red Cross has confirmed the start of evacuations.
Appearing on CNN International, reporter Michael Holmes said the ICRC had told CNN it intended to remove wounded people “without exception.”