Syrian Red Crescent workers entered the embattled Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The aid workers were accompanied by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Baroness Valerie Amos.

ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan told the Associated Press in Geneva that most inhabitants had already fled the area.

It is unclear whether Red Crescent representatives were able to bring any food or medical aid to people who remained trapped in the devastated district.

There were no official statements from Amos or aid workers, but the BBC reported that the UN humanitarian chief spent an hour in Baba Amr assessing the conditions and then moved on to other parts of the city.

The ICRC had been waiting for permission to enter Baba Amr since Friday.

The Syrian government claimed it was keeping aid workers out of the area due to safety concerns, but opposition forces speculated that the regime used the last several days to cover up the atrocities it had committed.

Amos has said the aim of her visit is “to urge all sides to allow unhindered access for humanitarian relief workers so they can evacuate the wounded and deliver essential supplies.”

After seizing Baba Amr from the rebels, regime forces appeared to be turning their attention to other rebellious areas, including the northern province of Idlib near Turkey. The shift suggested that the Syrian military is unable to launch large operations simultaneously, even though the security services remain largely strong and loyal.

According to witnesses, Syrian troops shelled the northern villages in Idlib on Wednesday.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Baroness Valerie Amos (photo credit: courtesy/UN)

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Baroness Valerie Amos (photo credit: courtesy/UN)

Syrian President Bashar Assad has defied mounting international pressure to end the year-old crackdown on an uprising against him.

According to state news agency SANA, Assad said Tuesday that he will continue to confront “foreign-backed terrorism.” Since the uprising began last March, he has blamed armed gangs and foreign terrorists for the unrest, not protesters seeking change.

The U.N. says more than 7,500 people have been killed since Syria’s uprising began. Activists put the death toll at more than 8,000.

Despite the growing bloodshed, President Barack Obama has said unilateral U.S. military action against Assad’s regime would be a mistake.