ICRC retreats from Homs, evacuation plan stalled

GENEVA, June 21 Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:11pm EDT

GENEVA, June 21 (Reuters) - 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.

"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.

The agency remained in touch with Syrian forces and opposition groups which earlier in the day had agreed to a humanitarian pause to allow the evacuation operation, he said. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Diana Abdallah)

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