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UN mission to visit Syria this weekend: UN humanitarian chief

(Xinhua)

09:39, August 19, 2011

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- UN humanitarian chief Valarie Amos said here Thursday that a humanitarian mission will go to Syria this weekend.

"I hope there will be a humanitarian mission going into Syria this weekend," Amos, who is the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told reporters after she briefed the Security Council at a closed-door meeting on Syria.

Amos said that the mission will be led by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) with representatives from other UN agencies.

"And of course we have been guaranteed that we will have full access to anywhere we would wish to go," she told reporters.

"It is important that we approach the mission in the spirit of negotiations that we have had with the Syrian government, which is that there will be full access," Amos told reporters.

She said the mission intended to stay there for three to four days and would "concentrate on those places where there have been reports of fighting so we can see for ourselves exactly what has been going on."

Calling it "an initial mission," Amos said they hope to go back in to do detailed assessments.

Syria has been in unrest since mid March when anti-government protests broke out in the southern province of Daraa and spread to other cities.

The Syrian authorities blamed the unrest on "armed groups and foreign conspiracy" and stressed that it would track down gunmen who have intimidated people and damaged public and private properties.

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