News / Middle East

Red Cross: Humanitarian Aid Hampered by Violence in Syria

In this still image taken from video protesters in a Damascus suburb purportedly carry a wounded comrade Friday, December 30, 2011. Image content not independently verifiable.
In this still image taken from video protesters in a Damascus suburb purportedly carry a wounded comrade Friday, December 30, 2011. Image content not independently verifiable.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says it is concerned about the escalating violence in Syria. The aid organization says it is particularly worried that the wounded and sick are unable to get access to medical care.

The ICRC says the situation in Syria is continuing to deteriorate. It says violence is taking a heavy toll, leaving hundreds of people dead or wounded. And, many protestors are being detained by the Syrian military.

Hicham Hassan, the ICRC spokesman for the Near and Middle East, told VOA the agency’s main concern remains the obstacles faced by wounded and sick people to gain access to medical care.

“People are more afraid to seek medical help in any place. So they really have to be selective out of fear for their own security," he said. "And medical staff and health staff are still finding difficulties to reach all persons at the right moment at a time where being late for 10 minutes or being on time could save a man’s life. If some person is wounded, which is the case for thousands of people since the end of March in Syria, and who have not received the necessary care, then they have lost their lives because of that, obviously.”  

The Swiss humanitarian organization has been in Syria for more than 40 years, mainly to aid the population of the occupied Golan.  But, its activities now have expanded to assist people affected by the internal violence.

Fifteen ICRC expatriate staff are working together with some 65 colleagues from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Hicham Hassan says the Syrian volunteers are working non-stop to provide medical and food aid to people in particularly difficult and risky circumstances.

Hassan says that with rising needs, the ICRC is concerned the arrival of winter will make living conditions even worse for the civilian population.

“Already there have been problems for people who are gaining their daily wages in a very difficult way. And today, with winter they will need more fuel. They will need more income to actually be able to take care of their families. Schools are there as well. So the needs are increasing significantly as the violence is also increasing. And, this is a main preoccupation for us now.”  

The Red Cross spokesman says sanctions imposed on Syria by various countries also are making the lives of ordinary people more difficult.

The ICRC says it remains concerned about the situation of thousands of detainees.  In September, Red Cross delegates visited the Damascus Central Prison at Adraa. There have been no follow-up visits.

Hassan says the Red Cross will not visit detainees unless the Syrian authorities agree to a certain set of conditions. This is still under negotiation. He says Red Cross delegates must be allowed to tour the premises, to talk in private with the detainees of their choice, and to repeat visits as often as necessary.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid