Syria statement

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MEPs have been warned that Syria is facing a growing humanitarian crisis in addition to the violent conflict that has engulfed the country for the past two years.

Making a statement to MEPs on behalf of the EU's High Representative Baroness Ashton on 16 January 2013, Lucinda Creighton from the Council of Ministers said there was "massive displacement of millions of Syrians," facing starvation in the harsh winter conditions.

Ms Creighton insisted the EU had worked "incessantly" to solve the conflict, but Dutch Liberal MEP Marietje Schaake said it was a "disgrace" that the EU had not agreed a coherent policy on Syria.

Ms Schaake added it was "regrettable" that Baroness Ashton herself was not present to make the statement herself.

The UN estimates that more than 60,000 people have been killed in the Syrian uprising since the violence began almost two years ago.

In recent days, the Syrian government has fired at least three ballistic missiles towards cities in the north of the country.

Nato is currently deploying Patriot anti-missile batteries alongside Turkey's border with Syria.

Rebel forces have gained control of much of northern Syria and the major city of Aleppo is largely under rebel control.

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