Red Cross urges respect for humanitarian laws in Syria

AFP , Saturday 4 Aug 2012

The red cross urged fighting parties in Syria to stop to prevent further loss of life

The International Committee of the Red Cross Saturday appealed to all parties in the conflict in Syria to respect international humanitarian law as the violence endangers more civilians.

"We urge all parties involved in the fighting to fulfill their obligations under international humanitarian law," said Robert Mardini, the ICRC's head of operations for the Near and Middle East, in a statement.

The Red Cross said it has already shared its concerns with the Syrian authorities and some opposition groups, but it was making "an urgent public appeal so that it will reach the warring sides on the ground without delay..."

Mardini added: "The objective is to prevent further loss of life and further suffering among civilians caught up in the conflict."

July was the bloodiest month so far in Syria's revolt which began in March 2011. Some 4,239 people were reported killed last month, most of them civilians, Rami Abdel Rahmane, head of the Syrian Human Rights Observatory, told AFP.

Under so-called laws of war, attacks may only be made against military targets, not civilians, with special care taken in densely-populated urban areas such as Aleppo, Homs or Damascus, which have been the scene of heavy fighting, the Red Cross said.

Mardini also appealed for respect in order to bring immediate medical aid to the wounded in the conflict.

"The Syrian Arab Red Crescent has already lost five of its staff members," Mardini said, adding that ambulances also have been shot at or stolen.

"This lack of respect has made the job of the Red Crescent even more dangerous at the very time when it is most needed."

Since the beginning of the year, the ICRC along with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has provided aid to more than half a million people affected by the violence.

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