UN aid chief urges ceasefire in Syrian suburb

Damascus, Oct 20 (IANS) The UN's humanitarian chief has urged for an "immediate pause in hostilities" in a rebel-held suburb of the Syrian capital city.

According to Valerie Amos, 3,000 people were evacuated last Sunday, but the same number were trapped in Moadamiyah amid continuing shelling and fighting, BBC reported Saturday.

Thousands of people were in a similar situations in towns across the country, Amos added.

According to the UN humanitarian chief, relief workers have been unable to access Moadamiyah for months, and the ongoing conflict is preventing any rescue mission from going ahead.

"I call on all parties to agree an immediate pause in hostilities in Moadamiyah to allow humanitarian agencies unhindered access to evacuate the remaining civilians and deliver life-saving treatment and supplies in areas where fighting and shelling is ongoing," she said.

The Syrian army has previously said rebel-held areas must surrender or starve.

Amos said she was "extremely worried by the situation unfolding across Syria where ordinary women, children and men are facing horrific violence and brutality from all sides of the conflict".

Also Saturday, activists said at least 16 soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing and fighting at a checkpoint near the mainly-Christian area of Jaramana.

Though the State media blamed "terrorists" for the explosion, it did not divulge details.

Rebels control much of the countryside around Damascus but Jaramana -- a Christian and Druze area mostly loyal to President Bashar al-Assad -- is still being held by the government.

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