UN presses case for Syria cross-border aid operation
New York: The UN Security Council must consider backing cross-border supplies into Syria because of the mounting suffering from the civil war, the UN humanitarian chief said.
Valerie Amos, the head of the UN relief agency, slammed the "increasing violence and complete disregard for human life and dignity which has reached unprecedented levels during past weeks."
President Bashar al-Assad`s government strongly opposes any international cross-border operation. Any Security Council backing is likely to be resisted by Russia, Assad`s key ally, according to diplomats.
Amos said yesterday after briefing the 15-nation Security Council that she had reaffirmed a call "that we should look at every single way to help 6.8 million people who are in need in Syria, including not just cross-line but also across borders."
"I have to put it to the council the fact that if we were able to bring in supplies from the Turkish border it is only 56 kilometres to Aleppo," Amos told reporters.
"I also have to put it to the council that the Syrian government is against this because they see this as a border which is controlled by the opposition."
Amos insisted she was not making a "political statement", however.
The humanitarian chief said she was trying to tell all United Nations members "we need to look at a mix of options to help the Syrian people, some of them require the council to act, others require the government and the opposition groups to act."
The UN was also looking at getting the government and opposition to agree safe routes for convoys or for temporary cessation of hostilities, the official added.
Since January, UN and other non-government agencies have been able to cross internal conflict lines to reach 1.2 million people, mainly in opposition areas. Amos said the agencies hope to reach 2.8 million people in coming months.
The UN says more than 93,000 people have died in the conflict since March 2011 and the 1.6 million refugees in other countries will grow to 3.4 million by the end of the year.
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