UN: access to besieged areas in Syria is worsening

UN: access to besieged areas in Syria is worsening

Access to millions of Syrians in need of help is worsening as violence increases across Syria, the U.N. humanitarian chief warned Friday, and the Security Council announced it will formally ask Assad regime to allow air drops to besieged areas.

The five-year Syrian crisis, which Assad regime is the root cause of it, resulted in killing more than 400.000 Syrians and displacing more than 7 millions out of their homes, either remained inside Syria of fled the war. Other tens of thousands found themselves besieged in their own towns and cities, with no access to the basic needs.

Stephen O’Brien said he told a closed emergency council meeting that recent attacks “are creating new humanitarian emergencies and compounding the challenges” as access continues to be denied to some besieged locations where needs are most acute.

While the United Nations continues to provide aid to millions of Syrians every month, O’Brien said it needs access and “the consent of the Assad regime and all necessary security guarantees, in order to conduct air drops.”

The International Syria Support Group had called for the U.N. World Food Program to unilaterally deliver food to besieged Syrians starting June 1 if access wasn’t granted by the regime.

France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre, the current Security Council president, said the U.N. will ask Assad to authorize humanitarian air drops to reach localities for which land access was denied by the Assad regime.

He said Assad’s authorization of some aid convoys to besieged towns is “at best a drop in the ocean.”

“We have not been fooled by the Assad regime’s ploy to authorize certain convoys which turn out to be empty of food or medicine or both,” Delattre said. “There is a strong momentum here in the Security Council, a strong pressure on the Assad regime, to say ’enough is enough’.”

O’Brien, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said the U.N. needs “full approval” of its June request.
That request included all 19 locations officially designated as besieged areas except Yarmouk, which is covered by the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, and Deir Ezzor, which is under siege by Islamic State extremists and is already receiving airdrops, Pitt said.

No food is allowed

A two-day ceasefire has been agreed in the Syrian town of Darayya near, Damascus, starting from Wednesday to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to the residents.

Assad regime let only two convoys of aid into Darayya and Mouadamiya, another rebel-held suburb of Damascus, on Wednesday. But there was no food for the malnourished citizens of Darayya.

“In Darayya, we reckon there will be around 4,000 people only left at the moment but that is women, children, people in great need. The reason we were not able to go by land access is lack of government approval.”

Jan Egeland, chairman of the U.N. humanitarian task force, said there were “clear indications” that a food convoy would go to Darayya within days, although not on Friday as planned.

“The Russians in the task force themselves today said that it is the food component that the people are waiting most for in Darayya and that remains to be delivered,” he said.

Darayya has been under a crippling siege since four years, not allowing civilians to flee or humanitarian aids to enter. The town was targeted daily with airstrikes and explosive barrels.

UN plans aid air drops in Syria, no food allowed to enter Darayya