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Red Cross Says It Is Overwhelmed By Syria’s Civil War; President Assad Says He’ll “Live & Die” In Sy
November 8, 2012
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It's virtually impossible to understand what life is like in Syria right now.

After a year and a half of civil war, at least 36,000 people are dead. And now, the International Red Cross is saying it can no longer cope with the disaster.

"There is no doubt that the seriousness of the crisis is deepening every day," Peter Maurer, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross said today.

"This trend has been uninterrupted since summer."

Over the past few months, the Red Cross has stepped up its operation in Syria, making it easier to bring in truckloads of food and medicine.

But Maurer said aid workers are overwhelmed by the growing number of casualties.

As well, hundreds of thousands of people desperately need care. But with all the fighting, the Red Cross hasn't been able to get to certain parts of the country.


"We have a lot of blank spots, we know that no aid has been there and I can't tell you what the situation is," Maurer said.

As an example, Maurer pointed to the city of Aleppo - which has been devastated in recent months.

Red-Cross-Says-It-Is-Overwhelmed-By-Syrias-Civil-War-President-Assad-Says-He-Will-Live-And-Die-In-Syria-feature6.jpg Also, the fighting is so unpredictable the Red Cross says it can't really lay out a relief plan. It more or less has to make it up as it goes along.

Another aid group operating in the country is the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations.

It says Syrian forces steal many of their supplies and sell them to people who agree to be loyal to the government.

"When the regime attacks one of our medical facilities, whether it's a hospital or something else, they load up everything they can carry, and they burn the rest," said Dr. Tawfik Chamaa.

"They take as much as they can, and that just depends on how many soldiers they have, but most of the time they resell it on the black market."

The Red Cross says it can't confirm that.

The Red Cross is also trying to visit 25 main prisons in Syria, as well as other smaller detention centres.

But so far, the Syrian government has refused - although it has assigned a senior army officer to deal directly with a Red Cross official.

Meantime, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad did an interview with Russia Today TV, parts of which were released today.

Red-Cross-Says-It-Is-Overwhelmed-By-Syrias-Civil-War-President-Assad-Says-He-Will-Live-And-Die-In-Syria-feature2.jpg Assad said he's not going anywhere. "I am Syrian, made in Syria, and I will live and die in Syria," he said.

Earlier this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested Assad could be allowed to leave the country safely, if that would end the war.

Assad responded by saying "I am not a puppet, I was not made by the West for me to go to the West or any other country."

He also warned the West to stay out of Syria's business, and not get involved militarily.

"I do not think the west is going [to intervene], but if they do so, nobody can tell what is next. I think the price of this [foreign] invasion if it happened is going to be more than the whole world can afford," Assad said.

The full interview will be broadcast tomorrow on Russian Today TV.

Meantime, the various opponents of Assad's regime are meeting in Doha today to try to create a new, unified and credible opposition.

Until now, the main opposition has been the Syrian National Council. But it hasn't been able to to present a united front against the Assad regime.

Related stories

'Save The Children' Releases Disturbing Report About Alleged Atrocities Against Children Caught Up In Syria's Civil War

Infographic: Mapping The Death Toll In Syria

Crackdown In Syria Described As Savagery


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