Syrian refugees are seen in the ruins of the ancient city of Serjilla on October 8, 2013
Syrian refugees are seen in the ruins of the ancient city of Serjilla on October 8, 2013 © Mezar Matar - AFP
Syrian refugees are seen in the ruins of the ancient city of Serjilla on October 8, 2013
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AFP
Last updated: October 8, 2013

UN chief urges action on Syria's humanitarian crisis

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UN chief Ban Ki-moon called Tuesday for "action" over the dire humanitarian situation in conflict-torn Syria as efforts were underway to destroy the regime's chemical weapons.

"The Security Council has... made a strong commitment to relieve the humanitarian situation to reach millions of desperate civilians. Now these commitments must be backed by action," Ban told journalists in Budapest, where he opened a UN conference.

"I call on all parties to respect international humanitarian and human rights law, end the violence and work for a political solution," he added.

Last week, the UN Security Council demanded immediate and "unhindered" access to hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in the conflict, urging both sides but "in particular the Syrian authorities" to help UN agencies and private aid groups.

Ban on Tuesday also praised the UN resolution ordering the destruction of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical arsenal as "a hopeful sign after more than two and a half years of deadlock."

The resolution was the first on the Syria conflict since fighting began in March 2011. The UN estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since then.

Ban was in Budapest to open a UN water summit.

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