UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) — UN Emergency relief chief Stephen O'Brien said Thursday that there are some emerging reasons to hope in Syria as far as emergency relief is concerned.

According to Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterress, the UN Security Council on Thursday heard from O'Brien, who said 2016 was a year "when we witnessed devastation and suffering in Syria at levels that defy comprehension. And yet, as we start 2017 and as hard as it is to imagine, there are some emerging reasons to hope."

Since December 30 last year, a nationwide ceasefire continues to hold, despite some breaches, Said Dujarric, adding that "this has provided a rare moment of respite for many, and we must all do everything in our power to see that it is consolidated and extended."

"Mr. O'Brien welcomed the agreement by Iran, Russia and Turkey in Astana to establish a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire," said Dujarric.

O'Brien was quoted as saying that "saving Syrian lives is the shared priority of all of us, and the UN stands ready to assist in the establishment of this mechanism."

World Food Program (WFP) Deputy Executive Director, Amir Mahmoud Abdulla, also briefed the Council and said that six years into the crisis, the humanitarian and food security situation in Syria continue to deteriorate.

According to Abdlla, 7 million people in Syria are food insecure and a further million are at risk, while four in five Syrians now live in poverty, with almost 80 percent of households across the country struggling to cope with food shortages.