Sept. 4 - The new head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss humanitarian aid as the Syrian refugee crisis worsens. Sarah Sheffer reports.
The new head of the International Red Cross, Peter Maurer, meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In the 45-minute meeting, the two discussed the need for increased humanitarian access to civilians caught up in the fighting. From Switzerland, an ICRC spokesman called the meeting "positive." SOUNDBITE) (English) ICRC SPOKESMAN, HICHAM HASSAN, SAYING: "The meeting mainly touched on issues related to the protection of the civilian population during the conduct of hostilities. Issues like the necessity of having immediate access to healthcare services, to food and to other basic necessities that have increased in the past few days and weeks due to the continuing fighting." In Syria for three days, Maurer said he will also continue efforts to gain access to government detention centres - which rights groups say hold tens of thousands of people. The ICRC has 50 foreign and Syrian aid workers in Syria, but all have been confined to Damascus since late July due to heavy fighting in the country.