IS group 'speaking with Red Cross'

IS group 'speaking with Red Cross'
Despite its bloody and extremist interpretation of Islam, the IS group are reported to be in indirect talks with the humanitarian movement as health care in areas it controls lies in ruin.
2 min read
15 January, 2015
Syrian refugees now have a hard time finding entry to neighbouring Lebanon [AFP]

Peter Maurer, head of the international humanitarian movement, the Red Cross, has told al-Araby al-Jadeed that his organisation is in indirect communications with the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS).

According to Maurer, these talks are being conducted through third parties that the Red Cross have worked with in the past, and are acquainted with IS group leadership.

Read about the Islamic State group's $2 billion budget

"We are trying to guarantee some of the needs of the local medical and community centres in the areas under IS control," Maurer said.

     We are trying to guarantee some of the needs of the local medical and community centres.
- Peter Maurer, Red Cross

He said that he is still unsure whether the humanitarian organisation would be able to provide aid to areas in Syria and Iraq under IS control. "This is a major challenge, as there is no direct agreement on entering these areas."

Maurer added that the Red Cross' activities in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories have doubled in the past two and a half years, saying that a third of the Red Cross' budget is spent in the region.

The Red Cross does not hand out blame for the situation of the refugees, but all parties in the Syrian conflict are showing a "systematic lack of respect" to international humanitarian law to varying degrees, said Maurer.

This situation has led to millions of displaced Syrians, and 10.8 million of the population remains in need of humanitarian assistance.

"When there are these levels of displacement and aid does not reflect the needs, it is inevitable that people will die," he said.

Maurer said the responses of the host governments and communities have impressed him, despite the limited resources they have.

"We appreciate the efforts of the Lebanese government to cope with the massive influx of refugees and its effect on the Lebanese people."

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.