UN calls on Syrian warring sides to allow aid flow

February 26, 2014
FILE - This Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 activist file photo provided by the group Palestinians of Syria, shows a child sitting on a broken sidewalk after hearing that Syrian authorities would allow civilians to leave in the Palestinian neighborhood of Yarmouk in Damascus, Syria. The chief of the United Nations relief agency supporting Palestinian refugees, Filippo Grandi, said Tuesday he is "deeply disturbed and shaken" by the despair and destruction he'd seen in the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp in the Syrian capital. Many need food and medical treatment immediately, Grandi said in a statement released Tuesday. (AP Photo/Palestinians of Syria, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — A United Nations official is calling on warring sides in Syria to allow aid workers to resume distribution of food and medicine in a besieged Palestinian district of Damascus.

Chris Gunnes of the UNRWA relief agency called Wednesday on both the forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and the rebels fighting to oust him to facilitate "safe and unhindered humanitarian access" to thousands of trapped civilians in Yarmouk camp.

The call comes as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged Syrian government to authorize more humanitarian staff to work inside the country, devastated by its 3-year-old conflict.

Yarmouk has seen some of the worst fighting in the capital, leading to to severe food shortages and widespread hunger.

The UNRWA chief spoke after a rare visit to Yarmouk on Monday.