GENEVA (AP) - The head of the International Committee of the Red
Cross appealed Friday to Syria for access to those wounded and
detained in clashes with security forces, saying he would meet
personally with authorities if necessary to ensure the neutral body
reaches those parts of the country where violence is occurring.
The ICRC said it has managed to conduct short visits with the
Syrian Arab Red Crescent to Daraa, Tartous and Homs in the past
month, but they weren't sufficient for the Red Cross to carry out
"Despite repeated requests to the Syrian authorities, we have
not been granted meaningful access to those in need," ICRC
president Jakob Kellenberger said.
The Geneva-based group commonly visits those wounded and
detained in conflicts around the world by promising governments
complete confidentiality in return for access.
"I stand ready to go to Syria myself to hold talks with the
authorities," Kellenberger said. "Vital humanitarian assistance
must reach vulnerable people without delay."
ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan said reports of hundreds killed or
wounded, and thousands detained during the anti-government uprising are credible. Thousands more are believed confined to their homes because of the violence, he said.
Human rights groups have put the number of people killed at
1,300, claiming most are unarmed civilians.
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