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Syria in a state of civil war: Red Cross - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In this citizen journalism image taken on Friday, July 13, 2012 and provided by Edlib News Network ENN, Free Syrian Army soldiers chant slogans in Idlib province, northern Syria. (AP)

In this citizen journalism image taken on Friday, July 13, 2012 and provided by Edlib News Network ENN, Free Syrian Army soldiers chant slogans in Idlib province, northern Syria. (AP)

GENEVA, (AFP) — Syria is in a state of all-out civil war and all sides must respect international humanitarian law or risk facing war crimes prosecutions, the Red Cross said on Monday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross had previously regarded only the areas around Idlib, Homs and Hama as zones of non-international armed conflict — the diplomatic term for civil war.

“This is not a new development; we already notified those involved (in the fighting) and in April we said that this situation of non-international armed conflict applied to three specific areas,” spokesman Alexis Heeb told AFP.

“Now each time there is fighting we can see conditions that can be defined as a non-international armed conflict,” he said, adding that “international humanitarian law applies” to such circumstances.

The Geneva Conventions define how civilians should be protected during conflict and also the conditions for “people who are no longer fighting, for example those who are injured, and also the conditions in which they can be detained”, added the spokesman.

This change in status means combatants could now be subject to the Geneva Conventions, leaving them more exposed to war crimes prosecutions.

The ICRC has regularly asked the Syrian authorities to respect the rights of injured people in medical centres and to provide access to prisoners in various detention centres.

A Syrian woman mourning over her killed son in the village of Treimsa.(AFP)

A Syrian woman mourning over her killed son in the village of Treimsa.(AFP)

In this citizen journalism image taken on Friday, July 13, 2012 and provided by Edlib News Network ENN, Free Syrian Army soldiers run for cover in Idlib province, northern Syria. (AP)

In this citizen journalism image taken on Friday, July 13, 2012 and provided by Edlib News Network ENN, Free Syrian Army soldiers run for cover in Idlib province, northern Syria. (AP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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