ICRC asks world to press Syrian combatants to halt abuses

March 15, 2013 13:44

GENEVA - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) appealed to foreign powers on Friday to press combatants in Syria to halt attacks on civilians and aid workers, saying all sides were violating the Geneva Conventions.

"Many atrocities against civilians have been reported or witnessed over the past two years and we have also seen indiscriminate attacks against civilians and the targeting of health-care personnel and aid workers," said Robert Mardini, head of ICRC operations for the Near and Middle East.

States should "play a positive role by exerting stronger influence on those involved to secure greater respect for international humanitarian law", Mardini said.

"These ongoing violations of international humanitarian law and of basic humanitarian principles by all sides must stop," he declared, saying no end to civilian suffering was in sight.

The ICRC's appeal on the second anniversary of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad was the first time the independent agency had asked outside powers to help create conditions in which aid could reach needy civilians promptly.

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