March 6, 2012 / 9:20 AM / 7 years ago

Residents returning to Baba Amr: Syrian TV

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian state television aired footage of residents returning to the battered Homs district of Baba Amr on Tuesday while the Red Cross said it was still unable to deliver aid to the neighborhood.

Footage showed dozens of men, women and children walking through grubby streets, passing pock-marked and semi-destroyed buildings.

Baba Amr was shelled by Syrian forces for almost a month in February before rebels who are fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s government fled the area last week.

State television showed pictures of rocket-propelled grenades and guns laid out on the street - weapons the presenter said belonged to “armed terrorists.” Small remote-controlled planes and helicopters were also shown.

“This is the tunnel used by the terrorists to get weapons in and out,” the presenter said, standing in a school building next to a 2-metre (10-foot) hole in the ground.

Syrian authorities were still preventing the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from entering Baba Amr to distribute badly needed aid.

“We are still not in Baba Amr,” said Saleh Dabbakeh, the Damascus-based spokesman for the ICRC. “I would not be surprised if residents are returning. What I am hearing from our teams is that it is much quieter than before in the entire Homs city.”

The United Nations says more than 7,500 civilians have died in Syria’s crackdown on protests against Assad’s government.

Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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