March 15, 2013 - 18:06 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) appealed to foreign powers on Friday, March 15, to press combatants in Syria to halt attacks on civilians and aid workers, saying all sides were violating the Geneva Conventions, Reuters reported.
"Many atrocities against civilians have been reported or witnessed over the past two years and we have also seen indiscriminate attacks against civilians and the targeting of health-care personnel and aid workers," said Robert Mardini, head of ICRC operations for the Near and Middle East.
States should "play a positive role by exerting stronger influence on those involved to secure greater respect for international humanitarian law", Mardini said.
"These ongoing violations of international humanitarian law and of basic humanitarian principles by all sides must stop," he declared, saying no end to civilian suffering was in sight.
Mardini said that hundreds of people were dying every day in Syria and tens of thousands were missing or detained. He again appealed for access to government-held prisoners.
An ICRC program to visit such detainees to monitor their conditions and prevent mistreatment, has stalled since May after just two visits to central prisons in Damascus and Aleppo.
The Geneva Conventions lay down the rules of armed conflict, including treatment of civilians and prisoners of war.
ICRC aid workers, working across the front-lines since the conflict erupted, have delivered aid to some of the hardest-hit areas controlled by both sides, the agency said.
The ICRC issued its message hours before France and Britain were expected to urge European Union governments to lift an embargo on supplying weapons to Syrian rebels.