U.N. sends first unofficial aid to the people of Syria

U.N. sends first unofficial aid to the people of Syria

Nine trucks carrying food and other supplies crossed into Syria through a Turkish checkpoint Thursday, the first to do so under a U.N. resolution authorizing cross-border aid deliveries without Syrian government approval.

“A convoy of nine trucks crossed into Syria today from the Turkish crossing at Bab al-Salam, carrying UN food, shelter, water purification and sanitation supplies,” said Amanda Pitt, the spokeswoman for UNOCHA, the UN humanitarian office.

The UN Security Council last week adopted a resolution authorizing the cross-border aid deliveries without the consent of the Damascus regime, to help more than one million civilians. More relief shipments are due to leave from three other crossing points, Bab Al-Hawa in Turkey, Al-Ramtha in Jordan, and Al-Yarubiyah in Iraq, in the coming months.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said at least 241,000 people in areas besieged by government or opposition forces. “The parties have continued to obstruct humanitarian assistance to those most in need and to withhold consent for operations in a completely arbitrary manner as a tactic of war,” Ban said in the report, dated Wednesday.

Ban denounced “indiscriminate aerial bombings by government forces and indiscriminate shelling by armed opposition, extremist, and … terrorist groups.” He said non-Syrian fighters are increasingly participating in the fighting, supporting all sides.

Ban has reported monthly to the Security Council on the implementation of a resolution adopted in February demanding rapid, safe and unhindered aid access in Syria. The United Nations says that resolution had failed to make a difference and that the humanitarian situation on the ground had worsened.

The action then taken by the council on July 14 was a follow-up to the February resolution. The new resolution threatens “further measures in the event of non-compliance”. The council would need a second resolution to impose punishments.

Approximately 10.8 million people need humanitarian assistance in Syria, including 4.7 million in hard-to-reach areas and at least 241,000 living in areas besieged by either government or opposition forces, ban said. Read more about the story here.



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