The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) says that the Syrian authorities are preventing aid from reaching rebel-held areas besieged by government forces, despite having made a request for more humanitarian assistance for the victims of the conflict.
According to the head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, Magne Barth, the aid agency's "staff are still not allowed to enter besieged areas to deliver aid, including much-needed medical supplies, to all people in need, whoever they may be."
The ICRC issued Barth's statement on Sunday as cold weather has begun to exacerbate the crisis. As the death toll continues to rise, the statement also noted that there are more than a half a million Syrians wounded, millions displaced, and tens of thousands detained.
Barth stressed that food supplies and other basic needs are "running dangerously low", especially in areas besieged by Al-Assad's forces, including Homs and Damascus, and that "the wounded are often not cared for properly and the chronically ill often do not receive the treatment they need."
He reiterated that the ICRC urges the Syrian government and the rebels to allow humanitarian assistance to reach all people affected by the 33-month old conflict.