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Military action in Syria would trigger further displacement of civilians, Red Cross warns

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 30th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As the United States and its allies consider a military strike into Syria in response to the Assad's regime use of chemical weapons, the Red Cross warns that this will only worsen the situation for Syrian civilians. Millions of innocent, men, women and children, already reeling from a lack of electricity, clean water and human services will only suffer further - and only disperse families over a great area, they warn.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The International Committee of the Red Cross also warned of Syria's rich cultural heritage being destroyed and archaeological sites looted.

An independent humanitarian agency, the ICRC said it was horrified over the news of poison gas attack on August 21 that left hundreds dead. The U.S. says that attack was carried out by President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The ICRC has urged warring parties in Syria's two-year civil war to respect the absolute ban on chemical weapons use under international law.

The head of the ICRC's delegation in Syria, Magne Barth says military action would "likely trigger more displacement and add to humanitarian needs, which are already immense."

Some two million people have already fled Syria. One million of these are children, many younger than five years of age. Human rights groups estimate that 100,000 people have been killed since the war began.

The countryside around Damascus, eastern Aleppo and Deir Ezzor province are the areas that have been the hardest hit in the ongoing civil war. These areas are also suffering from breakdowns of basic services such as water, electricity and garbage collection, the ICRC said in a statement. 

"In large parts of rural Damascus for example, people are dying because they lack medical supplies and because there are not enough medical personnel to attend to them," Barth says. "They also go hungry because aid can't get through to them on a regular basis."

The United Nations says that in the besieged areas of Damascus and its outskirts, 600,000 people are believed to be in a critical situation due to a lack of electricity, lack of water supplies and shortages of basic goods.

The Geneva-based ICRC has tried to reach civilians trapped in the old city of Homs since early July, but it says it has been blocked by Syrian government authorities.

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