Progress made on aid access in Syria amid fighting

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Jan Egeland, Special Adviser to the UN Special Envoy for Syria, said “we should not be naive, the war is continuing”. Photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Progress has been made on delivering desperately needed aid in Syria, the UN said Thursday, before warning of ongoing violence.

Jan Egeland, who coordinates an international humanitarian task force at the UN in Geneva, said that 16 out of 18 besieged areas have received aid since February, compared with just two locations last year.

He called for the sieges to be lifted, arguing that people's needs "are being trampled on across the Syrian map.”

Daniel Johnson has more.

UN humanitarian task force coordinator Jan Egeland said that progress has been made in reaching besieged and hard-to-reach locations in Syria after, as he put it, "several really bad weeks."

He was referring to aid deliveries to Daraya and Douma, which have not received outside help since 2012 and 2014, as well as imminent convoys to Afrin, north of Aleppo, and Kafr Batna in Rural Damascus.

Trucks are also loaded and ready to roll into Al-Waer in Homs, where people have reportedly died because of a lack of humanitarian supplies.

By the end of the day on Thursday, the UN and its partners hope to reach 110,000 people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas with more than 100 trucks and vehicles.

Discussions are also continuing with the Syrian government for access to Arbin and Zamalka in Rural Damascus, where the UN believes there are close to 40,000 people in need of help.

While welcoming news of a 48-hour truce in Aleppo, Mr Egeland called for more ceasefires and for sieges to be lifted:

"All of this happens while the fighting has got worse, the bombing is worse, the protection needs of the civilian population are being trampled upon across the Syrian map."

Mr Egeland credited Russia and the United States for the recent progress with humanitarian deliveries, while praising the bravery of those carrying out the work, often at night and during shelling.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1’24″




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