Syrians running out of ways to escape conflict: Red Cross #Syria
The spread of Syria’s civil war has made it increasingly difficult for civilians to escape the conflict, and many are afraid to seek medical care, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday.
“Through the spreading of the fighting people lose … escape routes out of the fights,” Peter Maurer told reporters in Stockholm after a meeting with Sweden’s Development Aid Minister Gunilla Carlsson.
“In summer, when fighting was going on in Aleppo and Homs, you could still move to Idlib or to some other places. Those places are increasingly rare because fighting is covering more parts of Syria.”
The latest toll brought the number of people killed in 20 months of violence in the country to more than 40,000, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Maurer also warned that “a much deeper humanitarian crisis” would unfold if attacks on medical workers and ambulances continued.
“The general population of Syria is afraid to see medical doctors and go to hospital because hospitals have become” military targets, he said.
Although the aid agency has managed to double the amount of aid brought into the country over the past three months, it was sometimes difficult to negotiate access for “neutral, impartial” deliveries in the highly polarised country, he added.
The Syrian uprising began as peaceful reform protests last year, inspired by the Arab Spring. It has since been transformed into an armed insurgency after the government began crushing demonstrations.
Most rebels, like the population, are Sunni Muslims in a country dominated by a minority regime of Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Red Cross: Humanitarian Aid Hampered by Violence in #Syria
In this still image taken from video protesters in a Damascus suburb purportedly carry a wounded comrade Friday, December 30, 2011. Image content not independently verifiable.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says it is concerned about the escalating violence in Syria. The aid organization says it is particularly worried that the wounded and sick are unable to get access to medical care.
The ICRC says the situation in Syria is continuing to deteriorate. It says violence is taking a heavy toll, leaving hundreds of people dead or wounded. And, many protestors are being detained by the Syrian military.
Hicham Hassan, the ICRC spokesman for the Near and Middle East, told VOA the agency’s main concern remains the obstacles faced by wounded and sick people to gain access to medical care.
“People are more afraid to seek medical help in any place. So they really have to be selective out of fear for their own security,” he said. “And medical staff and health staff are still finding difficulties to reach all persons at the right moment at a time where being late for 10 minutes or being on time could save a man’s life. If some person is wounded, which is the case for thousands of people since the end of March in Syria, and who have not received the necessary care, then they have lost their lives because of that, obviously.”
The Swiss humanitarian organization has been in Syria for more than 40 years, mainly to aid the population of the occupied Golan. But, its activities now have expanded to assist people affected by the internal violence.
Fifteen ICRC expatriate staff are working together with some 65 colleagues from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Hicham Hassan says the Syrian volunteers are working non-stop to provide medical and food aid to people in particularly difficult and risky circumstances.
Hassan says that with rising needs, the ICRC is concerned the arrival of winter will make living conditions even worse for the civilian population.
“Already there have been problems for people who are gaining their daily wages in a very difficult way. And today, with winter they will need more fuel. They will need more income to actually be able to take care of their families. Schools are there as well. So the needs are increasing significantly as the violence is also increasing. And, this is a main preoccupation for us now.”
The Red Cross spokesman says sanctions imposed on Syria by various countries also are making the lives of ordinary people more difficult.
The ICRC says it remains concerned about the situation of thousands of detainees. In September, Red Cross delegates visited the Damascus Central Prison at Adraa. There have been no follow-up visits.
Hassan says the Red Cross will not visit detainees unless the Syrian authorities agree to a certain set of conditions. This is still under negotiation. He says Red Cross delegates must be allowed to tour the premises, to talk in private with the detainees of their choice, and to repeat visits as often as necessary.
#Syria: Jordan provides safe heaven for injured protesters
Jordan government has opened its doors to Syrian asylum seekers
(ANSA) AMMAN, DECEMBER 12 - On his sick bed in a hospital west Amman, paralysed Syrian activist Ahmed has mixed feelings of anger and hope for a better Syria after thousands killed or injured and many more languishing in notorious prisons across his homeland.
The 28 year old comes from the restive Homs, a city that is having a first hand encounter with ruthless crackdown campaign on anti-Assad protesters.
He lost feeling in his legs after receiving a bullet that pierced through his lungs and into his spine.
“I was in a demonstration near Baba Amro when we heard gunshots.
I ran to seek shelter. Bullets were flying everywhere. Suddenly I fill to the ground. A man picked me up from the street into his yard to treat me,” said Ahmed in agonized voice.
Blood was bursting out of Ahmed’s mouth when he was rescued and taken to hospital for treatment, he told ANSA.
His mother, who has been by his side since months, says they were forced to sign a paper claiming the injury was a result of an attack by terrorist groups.
“That was the only way for us to have him treated and leave the country,” she explains as her son rests nearby.
Ahmed lost his legs, his voice and half of his weight and faces uncertain future in the hospital in Jordan.
“We will be victorious, says Ahmed in groaning voice before returning to respiratory aid.” Injured activists prefer to come to Jordan not only due to advanced medical treatment, but for fear of being arrested if they cross to neighbouring Lebanon, say activists.
Pro-Syria authorities in Lebanon have already handed over a number of activists or allowed Syrian authorities nab them from hospitals.
Meanwhile Jordan has opened its doors to Syrian asylum seekers and provides medical treatment to injured activists in private hospitals.
Activists say hospital costs are paid by Syrian philanthropists and activists residing in the oil rich gulf states and others in the US and Europe.
There are no official figures to show number of injured Syrians in Jordan, but they are believed to be in hundreds.
While some arrive legally through the border crossing points, others wanted by the regime are smuggled on back of donkeys or on stretchers through the land mine infested borders.
Upon arrival to Jordan, the army would put them in ambulances and send them to hospitals under cover of the night, say eye witnesses from the northern city of Ramtha.
Jordan has recently increased pressure on Bashar al Assad regime after the pro-west King Abdullah openly called on al Assad to step down after number of deaths in the neighbouring country reached more than 4000 people.
Syrian medical staff from troubled cities told ANSA that Syrian security forces often deliberately refuse to grant activists access to medication.
One nurse in from a public hospital in Homs recalls being summoned to a detention centre to see prisoners.
“I saw a man injured in his leg and it was infected. I told security forces this man needs treatment or he will have tangerine that could kill him. The pushed me away and said leave him,” said the nurse, who could not give his name for fear of retaliation.
Activists are forced to treat injured protesters in forests or inside homes, despite risk of infection from open environment.
They say most injured activists are as good as dead unless they are rushed to other countries for treatment. But the trip is winding and many perish on way or contract serious illnesses, say activists.
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