ICRC asks world to press Syrian combatants to halt abuses

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

"Many atrocities against civilians have been reported orwitnessed over the past two years and we have also seenindiscriminate attacks against civilians and the targeting ofhealth-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 strongerinfluence on those involved to secure greater respect forinternational humanitarian law", Mardini said.

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

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