Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

What's the deal with Turkey?

Read more

LIFESTYLES

New road trip

Read more

LIFESTYLES

High-tech in France

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Global warming: A drowning planet

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Christian Kastrop, Director of Policy Studies, OECD

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy's political comeback: Did he ever leave?

Read more

ENCORE!

Weekly Music Show: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's new album

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Revolt in New Caledonia and rebuilding homes in Libya

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

UK coalition split on 'English votes for English laws'

Read more

Middle east

Red Cross calls for daily ceasefire to aid wounded

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-02-21

The Red Cross on Tuesday called on Syrian authorities and rebels to lay down their arms for two hours daily to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians. In Homs and other areas, families have been unable to access food, water, or medical care.

REUTERS - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on Syrian authorities and rebels on Tuesday to agree immediately on a daily two-hour ceasefire to allow vital aid to reach civilians and wounded to be evacuated from hard-hit areas including Homs.

“The current situation requires an immediate decision to implement a humanitarian pause in the fighting,” ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger said in a statement.

“It should last at least two hours every day, so that ICRC staff and Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers have enough time to deliver aid and evacuate the wounded and the sick,” he said.

In Homs and in other affected areas, families have been stuck for days in their homes, unable to step outside to get food, water, or obtain medical care, according to Kellenberger, a former senior Swiss diplomat at the ICRC’s helm since 2000.

ICRC spokesman Bijan Farnoudi said that the talks with both sides in the conflict were confidential and the agency could not reveal their respective reactions to the proposal.

Syrian government forces killed 21 people and wounded some 340 on Tuesday when they unleashed a heavy artillery barrage on a rebel-held district of Homs, activists said.

In Damascus, security forces fired on demonstrators overnight, wounding at least four, activists said, in the latest sign that the 11-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad is taking a grip on the capital as well as the provinces.

The ICRC is the only international agency to deploy aid workers in Syria, where the United Nations has been shut out.

On Monday, Reuters was the first to report that the ICRC was negotiating with Syrian authorities and opposition fighters on a humanitarian cessation of hostilities.

Since the start of the revolt against Assad nearly a year ago, the ICRC has delivered food and medical supplies to major hotspots in joint convoys with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

In the past 10 days, during the Syrian forces’ assault on Homs, it has managed to bring aid to that city, as well as to the towns of Bludan, Zabadani and Madaya in the countryside around Damascus, according to the statement.

“A temporary halt in the fighting would allow the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to step up their assistance significantly and better respond to the vital needs of the population,” it added.
 

Date created : 2012-02-21

  • SYRIA

    Rebel stronghold of Homs shelled again

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Ex-Syrian news anchor slams state ‘propaganda’

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria frees iconic Arab Spring blogger Ghazzawi

    Read more

COMMENT(S)