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Red Cross Seeks Safe Passage of Civilians, Access in Idlib

Red Cross Seeks Safe Passage of Civilians, Access in Idlib

Tuesday, 25 February, 2020 - 16:15
Internally displaced boys walk near the wall in Atmah IDP camp, located near the border with Turkey, Syria February 24, 2020 | REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat

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 airpower, 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.

Meanwhile, Syrian rebels backed by the Turkish military have seized the town of Nairab in northwest Syria’s Idlib province, Turkish and rebel officials said on Tuesday, the first area to be taken back from advancing regime forces.

Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment into the region to support the rebels in resisting the offensive.

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