Qusair 'tip of the iceburg,' ICRC says

June 10, 2013 at 10:58 AM
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TRIPOLI, Lebanon, June 10 (UPI) -- Emergency medical workers are in contact with Syrian authorities about access to Qusair, though the city isn't the only source of conflict, the ICRC said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed it coordinated with its Lebanese counterparts to evacuate 87 Syrians wounded during fighting in Qusair, a strategic Syrian city near the Lebanese border.

Regional ICRC director of operations Robert Mardini said those evacuated from Qusair may represent "the tip of the iceberg" in terms of the seriously wounded.

Syrian forces, with the help of Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, recaptured Qusair from rebel forces last week. Mardini said the ICRC was in regular contact with Syrian authorities to try to gain access to border regions where civilians and those wounded during conflict might have taken refuge.

"The focus of the media is on Qusair, but let's not forget that there are many other places around the country, such as rural Damascus and Aleppo, where fighting is taking place and people are suffering," he said in a statement published Sunday.

Mardini said many Syrians are dying from conditions that wouldn't normally be fatal if they had proper medical care.

Last week, the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said access to Syrians trapped by conflict remains "severely" inhibited.

The United Nations estimates at least 1.6 million Syrians are displaced abroad. More than 4 million are internally displaced, half of them children.

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