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Syria: urgent call for daily halts in fighting

21-02-2012 News Release 12/35

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is urging the Syrian authorities and all others involved in the ongoing violence to implement a daily cessation of fighting for at least two hours, in all areas affected, to allow the prompt delivery of humanitarian assistance.

"The current situation requires an immediate decision to implement a humanitarian pause in the fighting," said Jakob Kellenberger, the president of the ICRC. "In Homs and in other affected areas, entire families have been stuck for days in their homes, unable to step outside to get bread, other food or water, or to obtain medical care."

''Over the past few days, we have been in contact with the Syrian authorities and members of the opposition to request this halt in the fighting," he added. "It should last at least two hours every day, so that ICRC staff and Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers have enough time to deliver aid and evacuate the wounded and the sick.''

Since 11 February, Syrian Arab Red Crescent and ICRC teams have managed to enter the cities of Homs, Bludan, Al Zabadani and Madaya (Rural Damascus) to provide humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people in need.

A temporary halt in the fighting would allow the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to step up their assistance significantly and better respond to the vital needs of the population.

For further information, please contact:
Saleh Dabbakeh, ICRC Damascus, tel: +963 993 700 847 or +963 11 331 0476
Bijan Farnoudi, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 21 80 or +41 79 536 92 59
Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26