UN Urges Immediate Humanitarian Access to Syria

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The U.N. Security Council called Wednesday for immediate access into Syria to provide desperately needed aid, expressing alarm at the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation.  (ALICE Martins/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.N. Security Council called Wednesday for immediate access into Syria to provide desperately needed aid, expressing alarm at the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation. (ALICE Martins/AFP/Getty Images)

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council called Wednesday for immediate access into Syria to provide desperately needed aid, expressing alarm at the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation.

The presidential statement was a quick follow up to the Security Council’s first legally binding resolution since the Syrian conflict began 2 1/2 years ago. The resolution called on Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons.

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant called the presidential statement on humanitarian aid “a very welcome, positive step after years of paralysis in the Security Council.”

The statement, aimed at helping the nearly 7 million Syrians affected by the fighting, urges the Syrian government to facilitate “safe and unhindered humanitarian access to people in need through the most effective ways, including across conflict lines and, where appropriate, across borders from neighboring countries.”

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos welcomed the statement addressing “the horrifying humanitarian situation” in Syria.

She called for “unhindered access” to people in areas that aid agencies have been unable to reach for months and a halt to the targeting of civilians.

A presidential statement is a step below a resolution. Some diplomats consider presidential statements legally binding but others do not.

“There is an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe going on in Syria,” Lyall Grant said.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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