U.N. Official Describes ‘Shocking’ Scene in Syria Refugee Camp

Residents of the besieged Palestinian camp of Yarmouk queuing to receive food supplies in Damascus, Syria, on Jan. 31, 2014. A United Nations official is calling on warring sides in Syria to allow aid workers to resume distribution of food and medicine in that district of Damascus. The call comes as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged Syrian government to authorize more humanitarian staff to work inside the country, devastated by its three-year-old conflict. UNRWA via AP

A top United Nations official has described conditions in a Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian capital as "shocking."

Filippo Grandi, head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which cares for Palestinian refugees, visited the Yarmouk camp in Damascus on Sunday. He said he was "deeply disturbed and shaken by what I observed" in the camp, where up to 20,000 people have been trapped for eight months by an army siege.

The UNRWA released a photo taken on Jan. 31, above, which shows a sea of people lining up to receive food supplies.

President Bashar Assad's administration and to a lesser extent rebels fighting to overthrow him have been accused of preventing food and medical care from reaching people in besieged areas of the country.

On Saturday the U.N. Security Council passed a landmark resolution demanding an end to restrictions on humanitarian operations in Syria.

— Reuters contributed to this report