U.N. staffers visit Syrian city of Homs

In this Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 image, a destroyed Syrian military tank is seen in front of a Syrian rebel checkpoint in Homs. AP Photo/Local Coordination Committees in Syria

(CBS News) United Nations staff members are visiting the besieged Syrian city of Homs, as part of a government-led mission to several cities where populations have suffered from the uprising that is now entering its second year.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has confirmed to CBS News that U.N. representatives will visit several areas in Syria that have been affected by the conflict between government forces and opponents to the Assad regime.

OCHA spokesperson Amanda Pitt said a government-led mission to the governorates of Homs, Hama, Tartous, Lattakia, Aleppo, Dayr Az Zor, Rural Damascus and Daraa has already begun, accompanied by staff members from the United Nations and technical staff from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Pitt confirmed the mission had already arrived at Homs.

United Nations agencies participating are OCHA, UNICEF, UNDP (United Nations Development Program), UNSPA (Specially Protected Areas), and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization).

Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, is not on this trip.

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