Syria humanitarian crisis spirals out of control

U.S., European and Arab leaders meet Friday in Tunisia to try and address the mounting crisis in Syria with a stern warning to President Bashar Assad that he must halt the siege on Homs and other battered cities and let humanitarian aid in.

As the diplomats arrived for the talks, Assad's forces bombarded Homs again.

There is clearly a desperate, immediate need to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Homs, which is spiraling out of control.


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Everything essential - food, drinking water, electricity - is all in short and dwindling supply. People with serious injuries, including two Western journalists, have no access to proper medical care.

In the short term, everybody is really hoping for some kind of a

temporary ceasefire to be pushed through, so aid can be brought in and so that the wounded can be taken out of the hardest hit areas.

But it is impossible to know exactly what's going on in the minds of the Assad regime.

The Russians will likely have a very strong role to play in any kind of ceasefire negotiations. Moscow, along with China, has continued to reject international "interference" in Syria.

Meanwhile, there are 15,000 Syrian refugees currently living across the border in Lebanon. They feel helpless as their compatriots in cities like Homs and Idlib are continually beaten by their own government, and they are voicing their rage at the international community's inaction in demonstrations here.

The refugees want the same thing their friends and family still in Syria want; the international community - especially those leaders in Tunis - to pay attention and do something to help with this desperation situation.

Clarissa Ward is reporting from Tripoli, Lebanon, near the border with Syria. Click on the player above to see her full report on the humanitarian plight facing Homs

  • Clarissa Ward

    Foreign Correspondent, CBS News

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