Syria: UN relief official voices concern over violence against civilians

13 June 2011

The top United Nations humanitarian official today voiced deep concern over violence in Syria, which has reportedly claimed the lives of 1,200 people and forced more than 10,000 others to flee the country, and urged the country’s Government to refrain from using force against peaceful demonstrators.

“It is important that we find out exactly what is happening in Syria so that we can provide help if required,” said Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. “I hope that the Government of Syria will allow an independent assessment to be conducted,” said Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

She commended the neighbouring States for keeping their borders open to refugees fleeing Syria and expressed her appreciation of the assistance they had given to the asylum-seekers.

“I underscore the readiness of the United Nations to help with this in any way necessary, particularly in light of the recent increase in the numbers of new arrivals,” said Ms. Amos.

According to media reports, thousands of Syrians have entered Turkey in recent days after fleeing a military crackdown against demonstrators calling for democratic reforms in their country. Syrian authorities have been widely criticised for their bloody repression of the protests.

The protests are part of a broader uprising this year across North Africa and the Middle East that has already toppled the long-standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and led to ongoing conflict in Libya.

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