The conflict in Syria began two years ago and has caused immense suffering, for which no end is in sight yet. There is no let up in the fighting, which remains intense, and living conditions are deteriorating by the second; millions of people have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere within Syria or in neighbouring countries. Many of these people are living in exceedingly grim conditions. Tens of thousands are unaccounted for or have been detained. Families have been dispersed: people are searching desperately for their relatives, about whose whereabouts they often have no information at all. Standards of health have declined sharply, medical facilities have been targeted and health-care workers have been killed.
"States party to the Geneva Conventions could also play a very positive role by exerting their influence on the players on the ground to ensure respect of international humanitarian law," says Robert Mardini, the ICRC's head of operations for the Near and Middle East. "We are convinced that this, in addition to avoiding that humanitarian aid is being politicized, will create a much better environment where security conditions are better and will allow actually an increase of the humanitarian response that is really needed for the people in Syria."
The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have assisted millions of people over the last two years. But more has to be done. Humanitarian needs are growing at a faster pace than our ability to respond.
The ongoing violations of international humanitarian law and basic humanitarian principles by all sides must stop.
Hundreds of people are still being killed every day. But this scale of death is something to which people are becoming accustomed, which is highly deplorable.