UNITED NATIONS: A UN mission to evaluate humanitarian conditions in Daraa, where hundreds are said to have been killed in a Syrian government crackdown, has not been allowed to enter the country, a top UN official said Tuesday.
"We have not managed to get an access for the mission," said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.
"We will continue to push for access; it's very important that we have a sense of what is going on," she said.
The United Nations said in early May that Syria agreed to let a UN team visit Daraa after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed directly to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.
Ban also urged Assad to cooperate with a UN Human Rights Council inquiry into the clampdown on protests.
But the UN team has yet to be allowed entry.
According to Syrian officials, "this is a domestic situation which the Syrian authorities feel that they have themselves the capacity to deal with," she said.
Syria has been rocked by unprecedented protests for two months that have threatened Assad's authoritarian regime. Rights groups say more than 850 people have been killed and at least 8,000 arrested.
Ban has appealed for an end to the deadly crackdown on anti-regime demonstrators across Syria.
According to rights groups, since protests broke out in Syria around 1,000 people have been killed and at least 10,000 people have been detained.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2011
Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2011