GENEVA - Syrian President Bashar Assad and Red Cross President Peter Maurer held "positive talks" in Damascus on Tuesday on ways of expanding humanitarian operations in the war-torn country, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

"During the meeting with President Assad this morning, the ICRC president discussed issues related to the protection of the civilian population during the conduct of hostilities such as the importance of access to health care and basic necessities and also visits to persons detained in Syria," ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan said.

"The meeting between President Assad and President Maurer was positive," Hassan added, without elaborating.

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