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ICRC appeals to Syria for access to victims

The president of the Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has demanded “immediate access” to parts of Syria hit by violence.

Jakob Kellenberger said he was prepared to travel to Damascus in person to meet the authorities.

“We repeat our demand for access to everyone who is being held so we can assess the conditions of their detention and their treatment and then pass on our confidential observations to the authorities concerned,” he said in a statement.

Human rights groups say more than 1,300 people, most of them unarmed civilians, have died in a crackdown on an 11-week uprising against President Bashar Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for more than 40 years.

A government spokeswoman countered that 500 people in the security forces had died in the revolt.

About 2,700 Syrian refugees have crossed into Turkey since the uprising began, with most fleeing in the past two days.

In partnership with the Syrian Red Crescent, the ICRC carried out short visits to the western cities of Daraa, Tartus and Homs in May. It said the limited nature of the visits made it hard to get a precise idea of the situation there and people’s humanitarian needs.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR