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Senior U.N. official visits Syria amid snow storm

DAMASCUS, Syria — The United Nations' humanitarian chief briefly visited Syria Saturday, where she discussed with officials ways of improving winter conditions for millions of people displaced by the country's civil war as a harsh snowstorm struck the region.

Valerie Amos said her trip to Syria from Lebanon was delayed because of the storm, which has worsened the misery of Syrian refugees, many of whom are living in tents without heating.

"I have also just been in Lebanon and was able there to talk to the (U.N.) team about the programs we have been putting in place to help people through the winter," Amos said in brief remarks in the Syrian capital. "Winter is extremely harsh as you can see. I was delayed on my own trip over here."

Amos met with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, his deputy Faysal Mikdad and Minister of Social Affairs Kinda Shammat before she headed back to Lebanon in the early afternoon.

Shammat said following her meeting with Amos that the two sides have agreed on more cooperation with "international organizations to bring in all aids to all Syrian areas and to those who deserve those aids." She did not elaborate.

The storm, which began on Wednesday, stuck large parts of Syria as well as Lebanon and Jordan where hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled since the country's crisis began in March 2011. The civil war has left more than 120,000 people dead.

Senior U.N. official visits Syria amid snow storm 12/14/13 [Last modified: Saturday, December 14, 2013 8:15pm]
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