ICRC: Karabakh sides must agree on format of humanitarian mission

ICRC: Karabakh sides must agree on format of humanitarian mission

PanARMENIAN.Net - The International Committee of the Red Cross remains ready to facilitate the handover of bodies of those killed in action and the release of detainees in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, ICRC Eurasia Regional Director Martin Schüepp said Tuesday, October 13, adding that the sides must agree on a format between themselves.

The ICRC has estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of people affected across the region.

"Civilians are dying or suffering life-changing injuries. Homes, businesses and once-busy streets are being reduced to rubble. The elderly and babies are among those forced to spend hours in unheated basements or to leave their homes for safety," Schüepp said.

"On top of this, healthcare facilities, health workers and ambulance services are straining to cope or even suffering reported direct attacks in places. There is upheaval, loss and fear in communities on both sides of the line of contact."

Schüepp expressed hope that the humanitarian ceasefire agreement will be abided by and will translate into meaningful relief for people impacted by the war.

"As such, the International Committee of the Red Cross remains ready to facilitate the handover of bodies of those killed in action and the release of detainees. The sides must agree on a format between themselves. We are in continuous discussions with them, passing proposals back and forth. Operational and logistical arrangements must be in place and the safety of our teams guaranteed, for the operation to begin," he said.

"We project that at least tens of thousands of people across the region will need support over the next few months. To this end we have issued an emergency appeal of an additional 9.2 million Swiss Francs ($10 million - Ed.) and have already started to receive generous donations from governments, for which we are very grateful."

Azerbaijan, with help from Turkey and mercenaries deployed by Ankara, launched a large-scale offensive against Karabakh (Artsakh) in the morning of September 27, shelling Armenian positions and civilian settlements with large caliber weapons and rocket systems. The Armenian side has reported deaths and injuries both among the civilian population and the military. Foreign and local journalists too have been injured in Azeri shelling of towns and villages. Although a humanitarian ceasefire was supposed to begin on October 10, Azerbaijan has renewed hostilities along the line of contact.

Donations can be made to Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, which has launched a fundraising campaign to support Karabakh amid Azerbaijan's aggression.

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