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UN calls for continued aid to Syria civilians

[JURIST] United Nations humanitarian agencies on Monday called for continued aid to Syrians due to the "deteriorating conditions" in the area of Deir-Ez-Zor. UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq announced [statements] in the daily briefing that the individuals residing in the area need immediate assistance of food and health supplies. The humanitarian aid from the UN has continually been halted from reaching those in need due to the "fierce clashes" in the vicinity. The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [official website] stated [statement, PDF] in an open letter to Syria, "The Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, his team, the United Nations and its partners have taken serious and repeated risks to reach people in need, in some cases coming under direct fire from parties to the conflict or suffering the ultimate price, selflessly serving others."

The conflict in Syria [JURIST backgrounder] has continued for five years in a civil war based around the legitimacy of President Bashar al-Assad [BBC backgrounder]. According to the UN more than 250,000 Syrians have died, and about 10.5 million have fled their homes. These refugees have attempted to flee the fighting by entering Europe, prompting UN officials to urge a global response [JURIST report] to the crisis. In December the UN Security Council adopted [JURIST report] a resolution outlining 15 steps for peace in Syria. The conflict has been highlighted by countless human rights violations and use of chemical weaponry, which has created mounting pressure among the international community to find an end to the conflict.

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