UN humanitarian chief to make first visit to Syria

United Nations headquarters

The UN’s humanitarian chief will make his first trip to Syria amid the seventh winter of conflict in the country, a UN spokesman said on Monday.

Mark Lowcock will meet with Syrian government officials during the four-day visit from Tuesday to Friday – his first mission to Syria since he took on the role of humanitarian and emergency relief chief.
In Damascus, he is scheduled to meet Syrian officials and humanitarian agencies.

In Homs, he will meet civilians, who have suffered first-hand from the effects of the crisis, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Lowcock will also assess the current humanitarian response and discuss how to improve access and aid delivery to the more than 13 million people, who need basic aid and protection in Syria, some of whom are trapped in besieged areas.

Violence has calmed in some parts of Syria, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

However, in the north-eastern regions of southern Idlib and Hama, fighting is continuing to endanger civilians, tens of thousands of whom have been recorded as displaced since Dec. 1, according to the UN.

The UN is also alarmed by increasing hostilities in Eastern Ghouta that continue to put civilians in the line of fire and are damaging infrastructure – including medical facilities, Dujarric said.

UN-brokered peace talks stalled in December, with UN mediator Staffan De Mistura blaming the Syrian government for rejecting dialogue with the opposition.