Geneva: The International Committee of the
Red Cross said on Tuesday it was for the first time granted access
to a Syrian detention centre.
"The Syrian authorities have granted the ICRC access to a
place of detention for the first time," ICRC president Jakob
Kellenberger, who held talks with Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad today, said in a statement.
He said the ICRC was able to visit the Damascus Central
Prison in the suburb of Adra yesterday.
"Initially, we will have access to persons detained by
the Ministry of the Interior, and we are hopeful that we will
soon be able to visit all detainees," Kellenberger said.
"This is an important step forward for our humanitarian
activities in Syria," he said.
During talks with Assad, Kellenberger said he discussed
the use of force by security forces and the need to respect
the physical and psychological well-being of the detainees, as
well as the latest developments in the country since his last
visit in June.
"The purpose of these visits ... is to ensure that
detainees are treated humanely and that their dignity is
respected and preserved," the ICRC said.
Kellenberger also said that his main concern was to
ensure that the wounded and sick are able to obtain medical