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UN Demands 'Immediate' Humanitarian Access in Syria
The UN Security Council today called on Syria to allow "immediate" humanitarian access to protest cities in a unanimously agreed statement.

Russia and China significantly signed up to the statement which was approved after Syria refused to let UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos into the country. Syria has said the date proposed by Amos was not suitable.

"The members of the Security Council express their deep disappointment" that Amos "was not granted authorisation to visit Syria by the Syrian government in a timely manner, despite repeated requests and intense diplomatic contacts aimed at securing Syrian approval," said the statement, which was obtained by AFP ahead of its release.

The 15-nation body called for "immediate and unhindered access" for Amos.

"The members of the Security Council deplore the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation, in particular the growing number of affected civilians, the lack of safe access to adequate medical services, and food shortages, particularly in areas affected by fighting and violence such as Homs, Hama, Deraa, Idlib," said the statement.

The Security Council called on Syria "to allow immediate, full and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance, in accordance with international law and guiding principles of humanitarian assistance."

Russia and China vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions on Syria and have been very cautious of any statement that could be seen as taking sides against President Bashar al-Assad.

In a concession to the two powers, the council statement referred to "all parties" to cooperate with efforts to evacuate the wounded from Syrian cities.
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