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UN delivers aid to Syrians affected by fighting in Homs


08:26, May 29, 2013

UNITED NATIONS, May 28 (Xinhua) -- The UN refugee agency said on Tuesday that it has delivered aid for thousands of civilians in the Syrian province of Homs affected by recent fighting, a UN spokesman told reporters here.

"The Office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that its aid deliveries have focused over the past week on people affected by the recent fighting in the Al Wa'er suburb of Homs. The fighting has displaced around 5,000 people," said Eduardo del Buey, deputy spokesperson for UN secretary-general, at a daily briefing.

"UNHCR has already distributed blankets, mattresses and other household items to 200 displaced families," said del Buey. " Yesterday, a UNHCR truck carrying humanitarian relief items for 10, 000 persons also arrived in Al Wa'er itself."

Al Wa'er is home to an estimated 400,000 people, of which half are displaced from other areas of Homs province, including the old city of Homs.

According to UNHCR, heavy clashes between government and opposition forces in Al Wa'er broke out on May 16 and were interrupted by a two day lull starting on Saturday. Conflict has since resumed.

Del Buey quoted UNHCR as saying that, during the fighting, at least five buildings hosting hundreds of internally displaced persons have been seriously damaged.

The Agency called on all parties to safeguard the safety and security of the civilian population affected by the conflict, urging all parties to the conflict to guarantee unhindered access for all humanitarian actors.

The latest round of violence in Homs began as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops launched an assault against the rebel stronghold of Qusayr.

The Syrian army pushed its way into Qusayr city on May 19 after taking control of its suburb following 46 days of battling. The offensive aims to cut the rebels' main supply line in the central region of the country.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday that he "continues to be extremely concerned by the intense military confrontation in Syria, in particular in recent days in and around the town of Qusayr, and the resulting human toll and suffering."

The UN chief reiterated that protecting civilians must be the priority and urged all to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law.

As preparations are ongoing for the international conference on Syria, Ban called on all countries, organizations and groups immediately to cease supporting the violence inside Syria and instead to use their influence to promote a political solution to Syria's tragedy.

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