Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Ahmed Kathrada's funeral highlights divisions within the ruling ANC party

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

It's Not EU, It's Me

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Markets muted as UK begins Brexit proceedings

Read more

THE DEBATE

'Thank you and goodbye': Clock starts on Brexit negotiations (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

'Thank you and goodbye': Clock starts on Brexit negotiations (part 2)

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Ghost in the Shell', 'The Confession' and Jean Rouch centenary

Read more

FOCUS

Italy: Anti-establishment mayor of Rome faces grim reality of power

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Refugees of rap: Using music to speak out about the Syrian war

Read more

THE POLITICAL BRIEF

Rise of populism: Could far-right leader Le Pen be France's next president?

Read more

Middle east

Red Cross chief pressures Syria on Damascus visit

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-09-05

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger (pictured), met Sunday with Syria's foreign minister to discuss access to detainees and medical care for the wounded as activists reported eight more deaths in new clashes.

AP - Syria saw a wave of violence and arrests Sunday as the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross visited Damascus to address issues including caring for the wounded and access to detainees during the government’s crackdown on a 5-month-old uprising.

Activists reported military operations and sweeping arrests in flash point areas including Idlib near the Turkish border and the eastern city of Deir el-Zour. There were reports of deaths, but numbers were unclear.

The state-run news agency reported that nine people were killed in central Syria in an ambush by armed groups in central Syria. The report, which could not be confirmed, said the victims were six soldiers and three civilians.

Syria has banned foreign journalists and restricted local media, making it difficult to independently verify reports. The regime blames the unrest on thugs and armed gangs and claims security forces are the real victims.

The U.N. estimates some 2,200 people have been killed since March as protesters take to the streets every week, despite the near-certainty that they will face a barrage of bullets and sniper fire by security forces. The regime is in no imminent danger of collapse, leading to concerns violence will escalate in coming weeks and months.

ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger met with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem on Sunday and was scheduled to meet President Bashar Assad on Monday.

The government crackdown on dissent has drawn international criticism and sanctions. The European Union announced Friday it was banning oil imports from Syria, which will cost the embattled regime millions of dollars each day.

While Assad brushed off earlier condemnation as foreign meddling, the oil embargo is significant because Damascus gets about 28 percent of its revenue from the oil trade and sells fuel to France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Some analysts believe Syria is getting financial assistance from Iran, which would cushion the EU blow.

The United States has hit more than 30 Syrian officials, including Assad himself, with economic sanctions, banned any U.S. import of Syrian oil or petroleum products, and frozen all Syrian government assets subject to American jurisdiction. But the U.S. has isolated Syria for decades and has little leverage with the regime.

On Sunday, a state-run newspaper in Syria criticized Europe’s move.

"Instead of playing an effective and positive political role, Europe
shows its pent-up desire to evoke the colonial past, " Al-Thawra newspaper said.

The head of the Arab League told reporters Sunday he plans to go to Syria this week to "talk frankly and convey existing concerns." His trip would follow an emergency Arab League meeting a week ago about the Syria situation. Elaraby said he was not seeking guarantees of action from the government ahead of his visit.
 

 

Date created : 2011-09-05

  • SYRIA

    Civilians, soldiers killed in separate incidents

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Arab League chief to visit Syria

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Russia condemns EU oil sanctions on Syria

    Read more

COMMENT(S)