Red Cross seeks safe passage of civilians and access in Idlib, Syria

GENEVA (Reuters) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on the warring sides in Idlib, Syria, on Tuesday to allow safe passage for civilians to escape attacks and it reminded them that hospitals, markets and schools are protected by law.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, supported by Russian air power, are trying to retake the last large rebel-held region in Syria after nine years of war. Nearly a million Syrians have been displaced by the latest fighting.

“We are urging parties to allow civilians to move to safety, either in areas they control or across the front lines,” ICRC spokeswoman Ruth Hetherington told a news briefing.

Deteriorating access to medical care and essential supplies for civilians in the Idlib area creates life-threatening situations that have already led to preventable deaths, she said.

“We urge all parties to provide access and security guarantees so we can adequately respond to the needs of people on both sides of the front lines,” Hetherington added.

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