ICRC: Syria not in civil war but situation grave

December 8, 2011 21:52


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GENEVA - The humanitarian situation in Syria is serious but the country does not qualify as being involved in a civil war as the armed resistance lacks organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.

ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger said the independent agency would not visit any more Syrian prisons until authorities fully accepted its terms but talks continued following its first ever visit to a Damascus detention center in September.

Asked whether the situation in Syria now counted as a civil war under international law, Kellenberger told a news conference "No, not yet. I'm in discussion with our legal people and I think they feel it does not yet qualify according to our criteria."

"But ... the qualification as such does not say much about the humanitarian suffering in a specific situation. It is an extremely serious humanitarian situation."

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