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UN calls for end to Syria violence in preparation for civilian food assistance

The UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) [official website] on Wednesday renewed its call [UN News Centre report] for an end to the violence between the Syrian government and opposition forces in preparation for planned food assistance by the World Food Programme (WFP) [official website]. UNSMIS spokesperson Sausan Ghosheh reported that the conflict has not ceased despite the recent extension of the UNSMIS mandate [JURIST report] for an additional 30 days. An increase in exchange of fire and explosions as well as the use of helicopters, tanks and a fighter jet has been reported as affecting civilians in the city of Aleppo within the last 72 hours, and Ghosheh urged the parties to respect international humanitarian law, noting that they have an obligation to protect civilians. She also added that both sides should cease fighting and attempt to find a peaceful resolution to the situation. WFP had announced that it has sent food assistance for distribution of 28,000 people in Aleppo amid reports of shortages of food, gas and electricity caused by the conflict in the area. The organization also reported that the number of civilians affected by the escalating conflict is increasing rapidly while forcing around 200,000 to leave the city.

The UN Security Council [official website] extended the mission in Syria following a call [JURIST report] by Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] and three other rights groups earlier this month. They had alleged that human rights violations are on the rise and urged the UN to continue pressuring the Syrian government to end the violence. Also earlier this month UN Chief Military Observer in Syria Major-General Robert Mood stated that Syrian authorities were committed to implementing the six-point peace agreement [JURIST reports] that was reached a week earlier. In June a UN commission stated [JURIST report] that Syrian forces "may have been responsible" for the killing of more than 100 civilians in Al-Houla in May. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [JURIST news archive] had denied [JURIST report] the allegations stating that "not even monsters" would carry out the attacks.

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