Red Cross Seeks Access to More Jails in Syria

International Committee of the Red Cross chief Peter Maurer said in Damascus on Friday he had asked the Syrian authorities to allow ICRC visits to more detention centers.

“For the duration of the conflict, we have been talking with the Syrian authorities to have access to detention centers, and in the past we have visited the nine main prisons,” Maurer told AFP.

“We would like to visit other places of detention — this was the purpose of the discussions I had with the authorities,” he said at the end of a five-day visit to Syria.

Asked about conditions in detention centers, he said the ICRC does not comment publicly on this.

U.N. investigators accused the Syrian regime at the beginning of the month of “extermination” in its jails and detention centers.

Thousands of detainees have been killed while being held by different sides in Syria’s brutal conflict since the violence began nearly five years ago, the U.N. commission of inquiry on Syria said in its latest report.

Maurer said he hoped the ceasefire due to take effect at 2200 GMT would open up to the ICRC regions that were previously inaccessible because of conflict.

“The most urgent thing is to increase humanitarian aid… Humanitarian deliveries must not depend on political negotiations but must be allowed to continue and increase regardless of any truce or ceasefire,” he said.