Russia to Syria: Stop Fighting— Temporarily

Red Cross needs humanitarian corridor to help the wounded, Russia says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 19, 2012 5:57 PM CDT
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, listens to his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic, unseen, during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 16, 2012.   (Misha Japaridze)
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(Newser) – Russia said today that Syria's government and rebels should halt their fighting once a day to give the Red Cross access to the wounded and that jailed protesters should be allowed to have visitors. The call from Russia, an important ally of Syria's, came after its officials met with the International Committee of the Red Cross, which had urged Moscow to take such a stand.

Russia had previously backed the ICRC's call for a cease-fire, but today's statement from the Foreign Ministry was worded more strongly than the previous ones, in an apparent signal that Moscow is raising the pressure on Syria. In other Syria news, the AP reports that rebels battled regime forces today in a heavily protected, upscale area of Damascus, in a sign that the country's outgunned opposition is increasingly turning to insurgent tactics.

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