Red Cross: 3 aid workers injured in Syria blast

June 13, 2012 - 11:48 AM
Syria

In this image made available on Tuesday June 12, 2012 smoke rises from a residential area of Talbisah in Homs city Syria Saturday June 9, 2012. (AP Photo/David Manyua/United Nations )

GENEVA (AP) — A roadside explosion hit a convoy of aid workers in northwest Syria on Wednesday, causing three people to suffer minor injuries, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The two Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and an ICRC staff member were traveling with other aid workers from Aleppo to Idlib when the blast hit their marked vehicles, the Geneva-based group said.

"They were taken to a medical facility and their injuries are minor," Red Cross spokesman Hicham Hassan told The Associated Press.

He said it was the first time a Red Cross staffer has been injured since the start of violence last year in Syria, where thousands have died in a government crackdown on a popular uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime.

Several members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been killed, however, including the head of its branch in Idlib, who was shot dead in January. The government blamed terrorist groups for the killing.

"We do not know if we were targeted, and we do not know who was responsible for this," Hassan said. He added that the aid group would contact the government and opposition forces to discuss the incident.

Intentionally targeting a person or vehicle displaying the Red Cross or Red Crescent symbols is a violation of the laws of war.

"This may put at risk humanitarian action in a country where the needs are steadily increasing," Hassan said.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent has thousands of volunteers helping those affected by the conflict, while the international Red Cross has quadrupled its staff in Syria to 60 in recent months.