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UN new aid chief makes first Syria visit

16 August 2015 17:02



The United Nations (UN)’s new humanitarian aid chief has visited Syria for the first time since taking office and held talks with the Arab country’s foreign minister on ways to ease the suffering in the conflict-hit country.

“We are committed to continuing to support humanitarian efforts in Syria. Equal access to all people in need (is) vital for our work,” the UN’s Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien said in a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Sunday, Syrian news agency SANA reported.

For his part, Muallem stressed “the Syrian government’s commitment to meet the basic needs of the people, who face a fundamental battle against Takfiri terrorism,” referring to foreign-backed terror groups such as Daesh and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, which have led a ruthless campaign of terror against civilians and military targets across Syria.

The UN official began a tour of the Middle East region on Friday. He traveled to Lebanon on August 14 and met with Prime Minister Tamam Salam.

UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien (L) meets with Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam in Beirut during a brief visit to Lebanon, August 14, 2015. (© AFP)


On Saturday, O’Brien visited the ruins of the central Syrian city of Homs, where he talked with local governor Talal Barazi.

Following his visit to Homs, he posted a Twitter message stating, “Visited Homs today. Beyond destruction of buildings lies destruction of lives. Syria needs peace.”

Syria has been dealing with a massive foreign-sponsored militancy for the past four years. The conflict has reportedly killed an estimated 230,000 people so far, including nearly 11,500 children.

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