The UN Syria envoy urges the Damascus government to allow humanitarian aid deliveries indicating the regime has broken its pledges on the distribution of life-saving supplies.
UN urges Syria regime to allow aid deliveries
Syria regime must allow aid deliveries ‘immediately’: UN / Geneva (Switzerland) – 15 September 2016 12:42 – AFP (Ben Simon) – 2NDLEAD The UN Syria envoy on Tuesday urged the Damascus government to allow humanitarian aid deliveries “immediately”, indicating the regime had broken its pledges on the distribution of life-saving supplies. Staffan de Mistura told reporters in Geneva that Russia, a key ally of the Syrian regime, agreed that crucial time was being lost on the deployment of aid convoys, a key part of a ceasefire deal that began Monday.”The government, I repeat the government, was expected to provide facilitation letters”, clearing desperately needed aid to reach several embattled areas, de Mistura said.”Those facilitation letters, i.e. (the) final permission for the UN to actually reach those areas, has not been received,” he added.”This is something that requires to take place immediately.”He said the truce agreed during marathon talks last week between Russia and the United States was holding “by and large”. “We cannot let days of this reduction of violence to be wasted by not moving forward” on aid deliveries, he added.- Ready to move -Speaking next to de Mistura, the head of the United Nations humanitarian taskforce for Syria, Jan Egeland, said trucks full of relief supplies were “ready” to move.”We could today,” said Egeland, who also chastised the Syrian government for not delivering the authorisation letters. “Our appeal is the following, it is a simple one: can well-fed grown men please stop putting political, bureaucratic and procedural roadblocks for brave humanitarian workers who are willing and able to go serve women, children, wounded civilians?” Egeland said. The two top UN diplomats raised specific concern over rebel-held eastern Aleppo, which has not received aid since regime forces seized the Castello Road supply route in early July. Aleppo is Syria’s second largest city and has become a key battleground in the five-year conflict, which has killed more than 300,000 people. Government-held western Aleppo has continued to receive supplies while fighting has raged in recent weeks. De Mistura said that the Russian-American deal included an agreement that the regime would not inspect humanitarian cargo headed to eastern Aleppo on the Castello Road. The agreement states that convoys will not be “harassed” or “investigated” once UN trucks are sealed, de Mistura said. In the past, regime troops have pulled material off trucks, including anti-anxiety medicine and treatments for sarin gas attacks, according to the UN. An estimated 250,000 civilians are besieged by government forces in eastern Aleppo. The ceasefire deal calls for the demilitarisation of the Castello Road, and Russia said Syrian troops were set to begin withdrawing by 0600 GMT on Thursday. But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said Thursday that government forces were still on the road, and there was no official announcement of a withdrawal.De Mistura stressed that, according to the terms of ceasefire deal, he expected “unimpeded movement of UN convoys” along the Castello Road. bs-nl/kjl