Special Envoy renews call for Syria aid permits, cites East Aleppo solution

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The UN’s Staffan de Mistura detailed how the US-Russian agreement reached in Geneva could result in aid reaching Eastern Aleppo via the Castello Road. Photo: UN Photo/Daniel Johnson

Ongoing delays in obtaining Syrian government permits to allow UN aid deliveries throughout the war-torn country are "regrettable" and should happen "immediately".

That was the message delivered on Thursday by the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, who said nonetheless that humanitarian supplies could soon reach Eastern Aleppo as part of the US-Russia agreement reached in Geneva last weekend.

Some 250,000 people need help in Eastern Aleppo which is under the control of rebel forces, along with hundreds of thousands more in besieged areas elsewhere in the country.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Staffan de Mistura said that it was too ambitious to say that there was a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria, days after a ceasefire deal came into force.

Nonetheless, the UN Special Envoy for Syria maintained that the truce appears to be holding generally and covers a "substantial" part of the country.

But as of Thursday, no aid permits have been delivered to the UN's humanitarian agencies by the Syrian government:

"The UN is ready to go. Those facilitation letters, ie, final permission for the UN to reach those areas has not been received, and that's a fact."

Despite ongoing administrative obstacles to aid deliveries throughout Syria, the UN Special Envoy said there was a way through for the 20 aid trucks destined for Eastern Aleppo.

He said that as part of the US-Russia agreement reached in Geneva last weekend, government and rebel forces would have to pull back from the Castello Road – the main supply route to Aleppo's rebel-held areas.

The Castello highway would also be given so-called "special status" to guarantee the unimpeded movement of the UN's aid trucks to those in need, at least to Eastern Aleppo.

For the rest of the country, Mr de Mistura insisted that he was still waiting for aid permits from the Syrian government which had been approved more than a week ago.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1'21"


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