Russia Monday called on the Syrian government to submit to demands by the International Committee of the Red Cross for a daily ceasefire for humanitarian relief.
The two parties call for the Syrian government and armed groups to immediately agree to a daily humanitarian truce to allow the ICRC access to the wounded and to civilians who need to be evacuated, said a statement from Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
Earlier, ICRC president Jakob Kellenberger had met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss ways for humanitarian aid to be sent to the wounded of Syria in the face of obstacles established by President Bashar al-Assad.
The ICRC said a daily two-hour cease-fire is necessary to deliver medicine and food to the neediest of Syrians in the most devastated parts of the nation.
According to Russia's RIA Novosti news agency, Lavrov told Kellenberger at their meeting: “I can tell you that we are interested in further cooperation in implementing international humanitarian law.”
Russia’s entreaty comes amidst reports of very heavy fighting in Damascus.
Russia, along with China, had previously vetoed two resolutions at the United Nations Security Council to condemn Assad and his government’s brutal crackdown on civilians and opponents.
Earlier this year, the Red Cross and Syrian Red Crescent gained limited permission to enter the besieged city of Homs to evacuate a handful of wounded Syrians. But the Assad regime later largely blocked such access.
The ICRC said Monday that it and the Red Crescent “sent 12 truckloads of food, mattresses, blankets and hygiene items in two convoys to the provinces of Homs and Aleppo [Monday]. The convoy in Homs province traveled directly to the town of Za'afaranah, nearly 30 kilometers to the north-east of the city of Homs, where aid was distributed. The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent had visited Za'afaranah last week to assess the humanitarian situation and the need for aid.”
At least 8,000 (perhaps many more) have died in the Syrian conflict over the past year, according to UN estimates.