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UN to send top humanitarian official to Syria as civil war looms

Ban Ki-Moon has asked Valerie Amos to visit Syria to assess the humanitarian situation and renew the call for urgent access.

Pro-Syrian regime supporters during a demonstration in Lebanon yesterday
Pro-Syrian regime supporters during a demonstration in Lebanon yesterday
Image: AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

THE UN IS to send one of its top officials to Syria to assess the humanitarian situation in the Middle Eastern country.

The move comes a day after at least 19 people, including two western journalists, were killed in heavy shelling in the city of Homs. Thousands of people have died over the past 11 months in a sustained uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime.

UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon has asked UN relief chief Valerie Amos to visit Syria to renew the call for urgent humanitarian access. Aid agencies have not been allowed access to the country.

The Syrian government crackdown on the pro-democracy uprising has increased in recent weeks with hundreds of protesters believed to have been killed.

Last week the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution strongly condemning the violence and backing a League of Arab States action plan to try to resolve the crisis.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore is due to attend a major conference in Tunisia tomorrow on the ongoing situation in Syria.

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The Tánaiste has called for the international community to compel the Syrian regime to cease its “appalling and unacceptable attacks on its own people” through a series of robust economic, political and diplomatic measures.

On Monday, the Red Cross said that it was working to try and broker a ceasefire among all parties in Syria to allow emergency aid in to the stricken country.

Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin killed in Syria >

Syria: Troops heavily shell rebel districts killing 12 – reports >

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Christine Bohan

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