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EU Syria delegate killed in Damascus suburb

EU staff member's death a grave reminder of the extent of violence in Syria.

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Syrian mourners carry the body of a man who was killed by a shrapnel during his funeral in Qusayr, 15 kms (nine miles) from Homs, on February 28, 2012. Leaders meeting at the European Union summit on March 2, 2012, called upon the Syrian government to end the violence, with British Prime Minister David Cameron saying that the authorities would face "a day of reckoning." (GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

The conflict in Syria has taken the life of the first European Union (EU) staff member there, the bloc announced on Wednesday, according to BBC News

Thirty-two-year-old EU policy officer Ahmad Shihadeh was killed in a rocket attack south-west of Damascus on Tuesday, said a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reported the Associated Press

Shihadeh lived and worked in the capital city's Daraya suburb and was killed in the midst of humanitarian work there, said the Ashton statement cited by BBC

“Ahmad was known for his courage and selflessness," Ashton said, reported AP. Her statement did not say who was believed responsible. 

Syria's opposition-led Local Co-ordination Committees said two missiles hit the area late Tuesday, according to BBC, while the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said regime forces had struck the area. 

The Syrian government's crackdown on what began as a peaceful uprising against President Bashar al-Assad sparked a conflict of humanitarian proportions, with hundreds of thousands fleeing violence between regime and armed anti-government rebel forces. 

“As we approach the second anniversary of the uprising in Syria," Ashton said, "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,” AP quoted her statement as saying. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/130313/eu-syria-delegate-killed-damascus-suburb