Stressing 90 percent of Syrians live in poverty, Pedersen told reporters that he had repeated his demand to the United Nations Security Council a day earlier that the sanctions imposed on Syria should not affect humanitarian assistance.

“There are no UN sanctions against Syria. There are American and EU sanctions, and of course, all these are among the topics that we are discussing with the Syrian government and also with others,” he said.

Pederson, who made the remarks following his meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, urged all parties in Syria to de-escalate, particularly in the north amid growing tension with Turkey.

“Syria doesn’t need more war, it needs peace, and it needs political process,” he said, adding the current situation in Syria is unacceptable when “nearly 15 million people need humanitarian assistance.”