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Middle East

UN official makes plea for Syria aid delivery

World body's humanitarian chief calls for a cessation of hostility in Damascus to provide food and medical treatment.

Last Modified: 19 Oct 2013 18:08
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Continuing violence in Syria has hindered efforts to deliver needed aid to people trapped by the conflict [AFP]

The United Nations humanitarian chief has called for a halt in fighting in a Damacus suburb that has been beseiged by the Syrian army to allow aid groups to provide food and medical treatment. 

Valerie Amos said in a statement on Saturday that although some 3000 people were evacuated last week, "the same number or more remain trapped", adding that continued shelling and fightinig hindered aid workers from reaching those in need. 

"I call on all parties to agree an immediate pause in hostilities in Moadamiyet to allow humanitarian agencies unhindered access to evacuate the remaining civilians and deliver life-saving treatment and supplies," Amos said.

She emphasised that Moadamiyet al-Sham is not the only town under seige. "Thousands of families also remain trapped in other locations across Syria, for example in Nubil, Zahra, old Aleppo town, old Homs town and Hassakeh," she said.

"The humanitarian community has stressed time and time again that people must not be denied life-saving help and that the fighting has to stop," Amos said.

Moadamiyet al-Sham, a suburb southwest of the capital, is largely controlled by rebels seeking the overthrow of Bashar  al Assad's government, although pockets remain under regime control.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based activists group, said the fighting which began in April had prevented doctors from bringing in food or medicine to save children. 

The army has laid siege to the area for months, and bombed it near-daily, with the opposition accusing it of creating a situation in which residents are starving to death.

The government accuses the opposition of holding residents of the district hostage. 

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