Last Updated: Tue May 03, 2011 21:12 pm (KSA) 18:12 pm (GMT)

Red Cross urges Syria to grant immediate access to injured and detained in violence

The Red Cross called on Tuesday for Syria to grant immediate safe access to people injured in violence. (Illustration By Amarjit)
The Red Cross called on Tuesday for Syria to grant immediate safe access to people injured in violence. (Illustration By Amarjit)

The Red Cross called on Tuesday for Syria to grant immediate safe access to people injured in violence as well as those being detained by the authorities.

In a statement, the independent humanitarian agency voiced concern that the violence had resulted in a large number of casualties and it feared that more lives would be lost if the situation worsened.

“It is urgent that emergency medical services, first-aid workers and others performing life-saving tasks swiftly reach those in need,” Marianne Gasser, head of the Damascus delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said, according to Reuters.

All people arrested and detained following the violence and weeks of demonstrations in Syria must be treated humanely and held in decent conditions, the agency said.

Syrian authorities on Monday gave 15 days for the people who had committed “unlawful acts” to turn themselves in, as protests calling for the fall of the regime were renewed across the country.

The interior ministry, in a statement, asked “citizens who have participated in or committed unlawful acts such as bearing arms, attacking security or spreading lies to surrender by May 15 and hand their weapons in to the competent authorities.”

It also called on Syrians to “supply information about saboteurs, terrorists and arms caches... they will be spared any subsequent legal consequences.”

The state news agency SANA said on Monday that army units tracked down “terrorist groups that have terrorized civilians (in Deraa)...and killed 10 of its members and arrested 499 of them.”

Human rights groups say that the security forces of President Bashar al-Assad have killed at least 560 civilians since an uprising in the southern city of Deraa erupted on March 18.

The Syrian government, condemned by the West for its repression of the unrest, has blamed the violence on “armed terrorist groups.” The country of 23 million people has been under authoritarian Baath Party rule since 1963.

The United States has blocked assets of Syrian officials, including of President Assad's brother Maher, who commands the feared Fourth Armored Division, while the European Union is also preparing a raft of sanctions.

(Abeer Tayel of Al Arabiya can be reached at: abeer.tayel@mbc.net)

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