UN humanitarian chief urges safe passage for aid delivery to Syrians in need

9 February 2014

A top United Nations official said she is deeply disappointed that a three-day humanitarian pause agreed between the parties to the Syrian conflict was broken on Saturday and aid workers were deliberately targeted as they tried to deliver food and medicine to Homs.

The comments by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos come as UN aid workers have reportedly again faced gun and mortar fire as they took more urgently needed assistance into the besieged city.

“I extend my sympathies to people who were injured in fighting and commend the courage and tenacity of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator and other UN and Red Crescent aid workers who entered the Old City of Homs to try and deliver critical aid,” said Ms. Amos, who is also UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

She said the recent attacks serve as a “stark reminder” of the dangers that civilians and aid workers face every day across Syria, where three years of fighting between pro- and anti-Government forces have left an estimated 9.3 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

“I continue to call on those engaged in this brutal conflict to respect the humanitarian pause, ensure the protection of civilians and facilitate the safe delivery of aid,” Ms. Amos stated.

“The United Nations and our humanitarian partners will not be deterred from doing the best we can to bring aid to those needing our help.”

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Syria: first civilians evacuated from Homs after nearly two-year siege, UN reports

As the first of 2,500 Syrians trapped by war in the Old City of Homs without aid for nearly two years were evacuated today under a three-day accord allowing people out and aid in, the United Nations called for immediate access to nearly 1.6 million others throughout the country who have been without regular food or medical supplies for many months.