Modest progress on aid to Syria is "not enough", says Special Envoy

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Staffan de Mistura (right). UN Photo/Anne-Laure Lechat

In Syria, "modest but real" progress has been made to help sick and vulnerable civilians there, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said Thursday.

Speaking in Geneva, where peace talks between the warring sides have been threatened by an uptick in violence, de Mistura said that more than 500 people in need of medical help had also been evacuated from besieged areas.

On the issue of the talks which he is hosting, the Special Envoy said that he would provide an update on Friday on plans on the key issue of political transition in Syria.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva.

Amid concerns about the peace talks in Geneva, UN Special Envoy for Syria gave an update on the humanitarian situation in the country.

After five years of war, an estimated 13.5 million people need assistance, more than four million in hard-to-reach and besieged areas.

To date, people in 12 out of 18 those besieged locations have received aid, Staffan de Mistura said.

“So far, 560,000 people have been reached between hard-to-reach areas and besieged areas."

Some 515 sick people were evacuated on Wednesday from four besieged towns: rebel-held Zabadani and Madaya near Damascus, and Kfarya and Fuaa, which are controlled by the government in north-west Idlib province.

Among his concerns, Staffan de Mistura said that many medical items are still not getting through, adding that "even the worst enemies" should allow the delivery of lifesaving equipment.

The "bottom line", he said, was that there had been "modest and real" progress, but not enough to make us comfortable".

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’04″

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