BEIRUT, Lebanon- Syria’s Red Crescent distribution centre in the city of Homs, centre of an anti-government uprising, was burned to the ground on Wednesday, activists and a source close to the group said.
There were conflicting reports about what caused the fire.
Some activists said the building burst into flames after shelling on the neighbourhood of Qarabees, which has seen intense clashes between the army and rebels during the year-long uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.
However a source close to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent said unknown saboteurs set fire to the building, which had been a warehouse for a government company before being donated to the Red Crescent as an aid distribution centre.
“Somebody set fire to that building. People knew what that building was, and what was in it,” the source said. “Sadly, the Red Crescent was supposed to do an aid distribution today.”
The International Red Cross negotiated for weeks with the Syrian government and rebels to ensure the Red Crescent – its local partner in Syria – could provide a steady supply of aid and medical care into violence-hit areas such as the district of Baba Amr.
The army drove the rebels from their Baba Amr last month after months of gun battles and heavy shelling.