Ashton: EU rep killed in Damascus

March 13, 2013 at 9:48 AM
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BRUSSELS, March 13 (UPI) -- The European Union confirmed Wednesday that its policy officer in Syria, Ahmad Shihadeh, was killed in a rocket attack near Damascus.

Catherine Ashton, the top EU foreign policy official confirmed the death in a statement Wednesday.

"I have learned today with great sadness of the tragic death on 12 March of Ahmad Shihadeh, a policy officer at the EU Delegation in Syria," her statement read. "He was killed during a rocket attack on the Damascus suburb of Deraya, where he lived."

She said Shihadeh was killed while providing humanitarian assistance to other people near Damascus.

The European Union withdrew European staff members from Syria in December, though it maintains a presence there with Syrian employees.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has headquarters in London, accused Syrian forces of bombarding the Damascus suburb, the BBC reports.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague is expected to raise the issue of Syria when he meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the BBC said.

Ashton said that, with the second anniversary of war approaching, all parties to the conflict needed to make serious efforts to end the violence.

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