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Syria

UN report: One million Syrians in need of food aid

The United Nations has announced about one million Syrians are in need of food aid due to government restrictions on aid distribution. The UN estimates more than 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria.

The UN's World Food Program (WFP) is assisting about 1.5 million people in Syria each month with food aid, however a total of roughly 2.5 million are in need, WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said in Geneva on Tuesday.

The WFP said they were unable to increase assistance because only a few aid agencies were authorized to distribute relief goods in Syria.

"Our main partner, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), is overstretched and has no more capacity to expand further," Byrs told a news briefing.

In many parts of Syria long lines stretch in front of bakeries with reports of shortages of wheat flour due to damage to mills, Byrs said. Long lines are also found at fuelling stations, which have been targeted in recent attacks.

"WFP is making arrangements to import fuel for humanitarian use, to resolve the impact of a significant fuel shortage throughout the country that has been affecting the agency's ability to move food on time - from the port to packaging facilities - and to find trucks to dispatch food for distribution," Byrs said.

Last month, the United Nations appealed for $1.5 billion (1.14 billion euros) in aid for the millions of Syrians suffering from the "dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation."

The number of registered Syrian refugees has jumped from 500,000 to nearly 600,000 in the past month, UN figures show.

UN-backed researchers have estimated that more than 60,000 people have been killed during the 21-month conflict between Syrian President Bashar Assad loyalists and opposition forces.

hc/msh (Reuters, epd)