The International Committee of the Red Cross chief Jakob Kellenberger says Syria's rebel movement is increasingly using guerrilla tactics in its effort to oust autocratic President Bashar al-Assad. He said rebels have shifted their types of attacks in recent weeks after engaging in heavy fighting with better-equipped government forces earlier this year.
Speaking in Geneva, Kellenberger also said the improved organization of the rebels means that recent battles in some parts of Syria meet the definition of a "non-international armed conflict," or civil war. Syrian rights activists said security forces killed at least three people in fighting around the country on Tuesday. Casualties could not be independently confirmed.
The ICRC chief said his organization needs another $27 million to expand its aid efforts for Syrians affected by the country's 14-month conflict. The Red Cross already has been working with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to provide monthly food parcels to 100,000 Syrians in particular need of assistance.
Kellenberger also said the Syrian government has granted permission for the ICRC to make its second visit to a Syrian prison to assess the treatment of detainees. He said Red Cross workers will meet detainees at Aleppo's central prison from May 14 to 23. The only other Red Cross prison visit authorized by the government was an inspection of the Damascus central prison last September.
In other developments, the Syrian government said authorities were counting votes cast in Monday's parliamentary elections. Damascus hailed the vote as a major step toward political reform, but opposition groups boycotted the contest and activists said few people voted in centers of the country's rebellion.
Syria's parliament is dominated by the Baath Party of President Assad, whose family has ruled the country since the 1970s.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.