UPDATE 1-UN committed to aid operations in Syria, Amos says

Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:57am EST

GENEVA Dec 14 (Reuters) - The United Nations is committed to maintaining aid operations in Syria and is ensuring relief supplies are stocked in neighbouring countries, U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said on Friday.

"We are looking at making sure that we have adequate stockpiles in neighbouring countries ... We all have staff who are still on the ground, of course we will continue to look at the safety and security of our staff, but our commitment is to keep our operations going," Amos told reporters in Geneva, speaking by videolink from Rome.

The U.N. earlier this month withdrew 25 of its 100 foreign aid workers from Syria as fighting intensified between government forces and rebels closing in on Damascus.

The U.N.'s World Food Programme is distributing food rations to about 1.5 million people inside Syria, including 1.1 million who have been forced to flee their homes during the 20-month conflict, WFP executive director Ertharin Cousin said.

"We are continuing to move our convoys out of Damascus," she told reporters. "We are challenged every day by shrinking humanitarian space in differents parts of the country. Yet we continue to distribute food to persons in need."

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