Status of pregnant women latest Syrian concern

June 11, 2013 at 11:42 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, June 11 (UPI) -- More than a quarter of a million pregnant women affected by conflict in Syria are expected to give birth under dire circumstances, a U.N. coordinator said.

Dan Baker, Syrian coordinator for the U.N. Population Fund, said Tuesday there were 270,000 pregnant women in Syria who are expected to give birth within the next nine months. There are another 64,000 expectant mothers living as refugees outside the country.

The human rights aspect of the Syrian civil war was highlighted in a U.N. report published last week. The report said there are at least 4 million Syrians internally displaced by conflict and half of those are children.

British Ambassador to the United Nations Karen Pierce said in a statement published Tuesday it was Syrian civilians who were suffering most from the conflict.

"We recognize the need for a longer-term humanitarian response that engages with development actors and neighboring countries as well," she said.

Baker said more than 2,000 women living in Syria received some form of psychological assistance from the United Nations during the last two weeks of May.

He said the needs of women and girls are often overlooked in situations like Syria's, where gender-based violence is overshadowed by more gruesome accounts of crimes against humanity.

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