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UN Calls for Aid Access to Displaced Syrian Families

  • VOA News

A general view shows damaged buildings on a deserted street in the besieged area of Homs Jul. 13, 2013.

A general view shows damaged buildings on a deserted street in the besieged area of Homs Jul. 13, 2013.

The United Nations humanitarian chief and the head of its children's agency have called for an end to the fighting in Syria's city of Homs, as well as access by aid workers to families caught in the crisis.

The U.N. released statements Saturday by humanitarian affairs coordinator Valerie Amos and UNICEF head Anthony Lake, who said some 400,000 people in Homs are believed to be living in partially constructed schools and other public buildings.

Amos said hundreds of people have "reportedly been killed, injured or taken hostage" in attacks in Homs, as well as Aleppo and other areas of Syria in the past two days alone.

Lake said the plight of women and children is "rapidly deteriorating." He said water and electricity are still available, but supplies such as vegetables, milk and other essentials will run out within days. He called for aid workers to have "immediate safe access" to families in need of help.

On Friday, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay called for an independent investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by Syrian rebel fighters. Pillay said a U.N. team found evidence that rebels executed at least 30 people last month in Aleppo. Most of the victims were Syrian soldiers.

Pillay said those on both sides of the war who break international humanitarian and human rights law need to be held accountable. She said rebel forces should not think they are immune from prosecution.

The U.N. says civil war for more than two years in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people and driven about 6 million from their homes. Most of the victims have been civilians.

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