UN says one million Syrians need humanitarian help

United Nations (ANTARA News/AFP) - At least one million Syrians need humanitarian assistance, a UN spokesman said Thursday at the end of an assessment mission to the country international experts.

Eight UN experts and three from the Organization for Islamic Cooperation went on government-led visits which ended Monday. "The joint analysis of the OIC and UN indicates that at least one million Syrians are in need of  
humanitarian assistance," said deputy UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey.

"Although some areas could not be accessed due to insecurity or time constraints... UN and OIC staff were able to visit opposition-held neighborhoods," said del Buey, the UN and OIC staff were able to visit some opposition-held areas.

They met people "directly affected by the violence, injured or displaced as well as families hosting them."

The population needs "protection, food, medical assistance, non-food items such as bedding and blankets and education," the spokesman told a briefing.

A first convoy carrying food, blankets and hygiene kits for 2,000 displaced families people left Damascus for Tartus governorate on Wednesday, the spokesman said. He said more supplies would be sent to other parts of Syria.

Del Buey said the UN analysis had been sent to the Syrian government.

The UN only reluctantly joined the mission because it was under the control of President Bashar al-Assad`s regime, according to UN diplomats.

It was eventually decided to go to Syria because it was seen as the only way to get information about events in the country, where the UN says more than 9,000 people have died in the past year. (*)