Food situation grave for Syrians, WFP says

May 10, 2013 at 8:14 AM

DAMASCUS, Syria, May 10 (UPI) -- The food situation for Syrians trapped by the civil war is severe because of the increased level of violence, the U.N. World Food Program said.

WFP said they were distributing ready-to-eat food rations and high-energy biscuits to those displaced by an assault on Banias.

At least 100 people were killed, allegedly by fighters loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, last week in the coastal towns of Baida and Banias. The Turkish government said the assaults resembled an ethnic-cleansing campaign.

"We are gravely concerned about the increased scale of violence throughout the country," WFP Operations Director in Syria Matthew Hollingworth said in a statement. "We are facing enormous challenges to move around the country."

WFP said it was working to distribute assistance to an estimated 10,000 people, mainly women and children. Some of the food-storage warehouses used by WFP in Syria are in areas that have witnessed heavy fighting, however.

"Unfortunately, some people are beyond our reach in conflict zones which we have limited or no access," Hollingworth said. "We urge all parties to the conflict to facilitate the free passage of humanitarian assistance."

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