Catherine Ashton
Catherine Ashton Photo by Reuters
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A policy officer at the European Union's delegation in Syria was killed in a rocket attack on a Damascus suburb on Tuesday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Wednesday.

Ahmad Shihadeh was killed while giving humanitarian help to people in the suburb of Deraya, where he lived, Ashton said in a statement.

"I call again on all sides to take urgent steps to end the violence, which has led to the deaths of some 100,000 innocent citizens and over one million refugees seeking shelter in neighboring countries," Ashton said.

The EU withdrew international staff from its office in Damascus last December because of the worsening violence in Syria, which has been torn by a two-year-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.


Local staff remained in Syria but are not going to the EU delegation, which is temporarily closed, an EU official said. Shihadeh was killed as Britain and France raise pressure on other EU members to lift a ban on supplying arms to Syria, where the rebels are outgunned by Assad's forces.