Europe

Red Cross urges parties in Syria's Aleppo to spare civilians

  • This image released by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) shows Syrians who were displaced with their families from eastern Aleppo gather at the collective shelter, in the village of Jibreen south of Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Syria's military said Monday it has regained control of 98 percent of eastern Aleppo, as government forces close in the last remaining sliver of a rebel enclave packed with fighters as well as tens of thousands of civilians. (ICRC via AP)

    This image released by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) shows Syrians who were displaced with their families from eastern Aleppo gather at the collective shelter, in the village of Jibreen south of Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Syria's military said Monday it has regained control of 98 percent of eastern Aleppo, as government forces close in the last remaining sliver of a rebel enclave packed with fighters as well as tens of thousands of civilians. (ICRC via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This image released by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) shows Syrians who were displaced with their families from eastern Aleppo gather at the collective shelter, in the village of Jibreen south of Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Syria's military said Monday it has regained control of 98 percent of eastern Aleppo, as government forces close in the last remaining sliver of a rebel enclave packed with fighters as well as tens of thousands of civilians. (ICRC via AP)

    This image released by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) shows Syrians who were displaced with their families from eastern Aleppo gather at the collective shelter, in the village of Jibreen south of Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Syria's military said Monday it has regained control of 98 percent of eastern Aleppo, as government forces close in the last remaining sliver of a rebel enclave packed with fighters as well as tens of thousands of civilians. (ICRC via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops march through the streets of east Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Syria's military said Monday it has regained control of 98 percent of eastern Aleppo, as government forces close in the last remaining sliver of a rebel enclave packed with fighters as well as tens of thousands of civilians. (SANA via AP)

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops march through the streets of east Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Syria's military said Monday it has regained control of 98 percent of eastern Aleppo, as government forces close in the last remaining sliver of a rebel enclave packed with fighters as well as tens of thousands of civilians. (SANA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The International Committee of the Red Cross is urging those fighting in Syria's Aleppo to do all they can to protect and spare civilian lives.

The ICRC says in a statement on Tuesday that thousands of people with no part in the violence "have literally nowhere safe to run."

The dramatic appeal came after Syrian military announced the previous day it gained control of 99 percent of the former opposition enclave in eastern Aleppo, signaling an impending end to the rebels' four-year hold over parts of the city.

ICRC says a deepening humanitarian catastrophe and further loss of life can be averted only if the basic rules of warfare — and of humanity — are applied.

Retaking Aleppo would be President Bashar Assad's biggest victory yet in the civil war.