Lifeline to millions of Syrians is at stake, says aid coordinator

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Jan Egeland, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria briefs the media after a meeting of the international humanitarian access taskforce in Geneva. Photo: UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

The violence in parts of Syria is as bad as it was before a cessation of hostilities came into force, threatening the aid lifeline to millions of people, the UN said Thursday.

Jan Egeland, who's the humanitarian taskforce coordinator for the wartorn country, said that more than half of those in besieged areas have now been reached – more than a quarter of a million people.

But he warned that these gains "may be lost" if the fighting continues.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva.

Peace talks have come to a scheduled end for the time being in Geneva, unlike the fighting in Syria.

And in a briefing to the press, humanitarian taskforce coordinator Jan Egeland said that the continuing violence is putting millions of lives at risk.

He cited an escalation of fighting in Homs and a "catastrophic deterioration" in in Aleppo, where the city's last children's doctor has been reported killed.

"The stakes are so incredibly high because so many civilians lives are at stake, so many humanitarian health workers and relief workers are being bombed, killed and maimed at the moment, so that now the whole lifeline to millions of people is also at stake."

So far this year the UN and its partners have reached nearly 800,000 people in besieged, hard-to-reach and other priority areas.

Egeland, whose taskforce is made up of international representatives with influence on warring parties involved in the more than five-year conflict, said that their help was needed again to stop the violence so that aid convoys could operate.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1'10"


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