U.N. Official, Syria Assess Humanitarian Needsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
A United Nations official is in Syria to assess the humanitarian needs in the strife-torn country, a spokesman for the U.N. mission in Damascus told Agence France Presse on Wednesday.
"Philippe Lazzarini, deputy to (U.N. humanitarian chief) Valerie Amos, is visiting Syria to coordinate with the Syrian government to assess humanitarian needs and direct distribution of aid," Khaled al-Masri said.
Lazzarini met in the afternoon with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad, who underscored the "importance of respecting Syrian sovereignty," the state news agency SANA reported.
Mekdad also stressed the need to "establish a climate of trust and cooperation between Syria and the United Nations," the agency added.
It quoted Lazzarini as saying that the U.N. team was determined to cooperate with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The U.N. official was also due to hold talks with Abdul Rahman al-Attar, president of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, concerning humanitarian needs and the distribution of aid, Masri told AFP.
Lazzarini arrived in Damascus on Monday and visited several towns outside the capital on Tuesday, including Bludan, Zabadani, al-Nabak and Harasta, Masri added.
Amos announced at the beginning of March that Syria had agreed to allow a preliminary assessment of the relief needs in areas hard hit by violence since an anti-regime uprising erupted last year.
On April 20 the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said a $180 million draft plan for delivering humanitarian aid for one million needy had been drawn up and awaiting the green light from Syria.
Violence continues across the country despite a U.N.-backed ceasefire that came into effect April 12. The United Nations has accused both the Syrian regime and the opposition of violating the terms of the truce.
More than 11,000 people, the majority of them civilians, have been killed in Syria since the uprising broke out in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.