March 9, 2012 / 8:15 AM / 8 years ago

U.N.'s Amos in Turkey to visit Syrian refugee camps

ANKARA (Reuters) - U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos arrived in Turkey after her trip to Syria on Friday to visit camps set up for thousands of Syrians who have fled the conflict across the border, a U.N. official in Ankara told Reuters.

Syrian refugees have crossed to Turkey in growing numbers in recent days, frightened by a government assault to drive rebels from the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, officials said.

On her trip to Syria, Amos said she was “devastated” by the destruction she had seen in Baba Amr, and wanted to know what happened to its residents, who endured a 26-day military siege before rebels withdrew a week ago.

A Turkish foreign ministry official said Amos would meet Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at 1100 GMT in Ankara. The U.N. official said she was expected to make a statement at Ankara airport at 1200 GMT.

Amos was then set to make a brief visit to Istanbul, the foreign ministry said.

Some 12,000 Syrians are registered at the camps set up to provide refuge for them in Turkey’s southern province of Hatay, after the arrival of around 800 during the past week, according to a foreign ministry official.

During the past year Turkey has turned against former friend President Bashar al-Assad over his brutal crackdown, and fears that there could be massacres in Syrian towns and cities that are centers of opposition to his rule.

The United Nations is readying food stocks for 1.5 million people in Syria as part of a 90-day emergency plan to help civilians deprived of basic supplies after nearly a year of conflict.

It has drawn up a 90-day aid plan of $105 million likely to translate into a funding appeal to donors, diplomats and U.N. sources said.

The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) has said it distributed some food supplies in Syria through local aid agencies, but it had not reached people in the areas worst hit by the violence.

The U.N. estimates more than 7,500 civilians have died during Assad’s crackdown on the uprising.

Kofi Annan, the U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria, said on Thursday he would urge President Assad and his foes to stop fighting and seek a political solution.

Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Karolina Tagaris

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