DAMASCUS, Syria, May 3 (UPI) -- The level of violence in Syria is regrettable, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in an appeal for access to those in need.
"It is urgent that emergency medical services, first-aid workers and others performing life-saving tasks swiftly reach those in need," said Marianne Gasser, head of the ICRC delegation in Damascus, in a statement. "The violence has resulted in a large number of casualties and we fear that if the situation worsens more lives will be lost."
Violence inspired in part by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia spilled over to Syria earlier this year. Protests grew violent despite pledges from Syrian President Bashar Assad to enact a series of reforms, including an end to a state of emergency in place since the 1960s.
The official Syrian Arab News Agency reports that Syrian forces were hunting for "armed terrorist groups" in Daraa, the area most impacted by the violence. Damascus blames thugs and foreign elements for the violence though the international community accuses security forces of attacking civilian demonstrators.
SANA said "huge quantities" of weapons were seized in operations in Daraa.
"The ICRC calls upon the authorities, demonstrators and all others involved to respect human life and dignity at all times," added Gasser in her statement.