BEIRUT - Escalating violence in Syria is hampering UN efforts to expand aid operations and help more than 1 million people caught up in 15 months of turmoil, a UN official said.

Robert Watkins, UN Development Program representative in neighboring Lebanon, said the United Nations was still delivering assistance but plans to set up field offices in four of the worst-hit areas in the country were facing obstacles.

"Increasing violence has made it extremely difficult to establish the field presence so important for ensuring the delivery of humanitarian aid," Watkins told Reuters.

"Humanitarian deliveries do continue, however, though not at the pace we had hoped and as required by the needs."

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