Syria violence may create "de-facto" besieged zones

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Syria aid task-force adviser Jan Egeland warned that many places in Syria had suffered from violations to the cessation of hostilities. Photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

In Syria, humanitarian aid workers face ongoing challenges as they try to help civilians with desperate needs, the UN said on Thursday.

Aid convoys have been given permission to access less than half of the 905,000 people in need.

Jan Egeland, who heads the UN-led Syria relief effort from Geneva, said that government forces were largely responsible.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva.

The work to get aid to desperate people in Syria goes on, Jan Egeland told journalists in Geneva on Thursday, though only two out of 18 besieged places have received help this month.

He added that some hard-to-reach areas are becoming "de facto" besieged zones.

The UN-led humanitarian task-force coordinator said there was "a sense of great diplomatic pressure" being brought to bear on government forces and their opponents to let the convoys move freely.

But ongoing violations of the February truce have had disastrous consequences on civilians because they've left humanitarian workers dead and turned previously accessible places into no-go zones.

Aleppo in the north of Syria is just one of those places, Jan Egeland said.

The besieged town of Moadamyia south-west of Damascus is another.

"Moadamyia may become a terrible place if we're not allowed to replenish, there are no guarantees in this bitter and terrible war for anything it seems as regards civilians yet."

Jan Egeland blamed the government for most of the humanitarian access problems, and armed groups too.

But he said that this could change in the next few days, as access has been granted – if only to assess people's needs – in Darayya, east Harasta, Erbin, Zamalka and Zabadin.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1’16″

 

 

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