ICRC chief heading to Syria amid crackdown

AP News
Posted: Sep 03, 2011 7:31 AM
ICRC chief heading to Syria amid crackdown

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross is heading to Damascus for talks with President Bashar Assad on issues including caring for the sick and wounded in the government's crackdown on dissidents.

The ICRC said its president, Jakob Kellenberger, will start a two-day visit to Damascus later Saturday. He also will meet Prime Minister Adel Safar and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

Kellenberger visited Syria in June. The Red Cross says the latest trip's aim is to review progress following an understanding then to give it "enhanced access" to troubled areas and hold negotiations on ICRC visits to detainees.

It says ensuring the sick and wounded have access to care will be "among the particularly urgent humanitarian challenges to be addressed."