Syria a grave concern for ICRC

Dec. 30, 2011 at 10:52 AM
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Syria: On the Ground with Arab League Monitors
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- There are grave concerns about the deteriorating situation in Syria where violence is extracting a heavy toll on civilians, the Red Cross said.

The international community is assessing the effectiveness of a, Arab League monitoring team in Syria.

The team is there to ensure Damascus is complying with an agreement to pull military equipment and forces from the streets. Critics accuse the Syrian government of hiding atrocities from observers.

Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, head of operations for the region at the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the crisis is having a major impact across the country.

"Needs are mounting rapidly, especially with winter setting in," she said in a statement. "Fuel shortages and the difficulty of moving about freely and buying food, are among the things that make daily life ever harder."

The ICRC expressed concern about detainees in the country. The group in September visited a Damascus prison according to the framework of confidential agreements with the Syrian government. It maintained, however, that it needs access to detainees as often as it considers necessary.

"Findings and recommendations are discussed only with the authorities concerned," she said. "We believe that this is the best way to obtain satisfactory results."

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