De Mistura: Assad regime blocks aid delivery to Aleppo

De Mistura: Assad regime blocks aid delivery to Aleppo

Assad regime is blocking aid delivery convoys into Aleppo which were sent under the terms of a nationwide ceasefire agreement, UN special envoy for Syria said on Thursday.

Under the ceasefire agreement, made by US and Russia who back opposing sides in the five-year-old war, a nationwide truce from sundown on Monday was promised,as well as improved access for humanitarian aid and joint military targeting of hardline Islamist groups.

“The government, I repeat the government, was expected to provide … permits, authorizations,” de Mistura told reporters in Geneva. They “have not been received”, he added.The lack of permission was “a very major disappointment” even for Syria’s ally Russia, de Mistura said.

The Syrian government has said it will reject any aid deliveries to the city not coordinated through itself and the UN, particularly from Turkey, which has backed the rebels fighting Assad.

De Mistura said some people had used the argument that offices were closed during this week’s Muslim Eid holiday, and the Syrian government had been “a little bit slow” during Eid, but he would not accept that as a valid reason.

The permits are needed for aid to reach most besieged areas in Syria, but not for the trucks waiting to cross the Turkish border and head to eastern Aleppo, the biggest flashpoint of recent fighting.

De Mistura said that delay was caused by lack of guarantees from all sides of safe and secure access for the convoy.

His humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said there had been no reports of civilian killings in the past 24 hours and attacks on schools and hospitals had stopped.

Egeland said aid convoys could reach besieged zones such as Moadamiyah, al Waer and Douma by the end of the week if the permits were issued, which would be simple to do.

“Can well-fed grown men please stop putting political, bureaucratic and procedural road blocks for brave humanitarian workers that are willing to go to serve women, children, wounded civilians in besieged and crossfire areas?” Egeland said.

“The reason we’re not in eastern Aleppo has again been a combination of very difficult and detailed discussions around security monitoring and passage of roadblocks – which is both opposition and government,” Egeland told Reuters.

He said he hoped aid could go to Aleppo on Friday, but first all fighting forces had to disengage from the Castello Road supply route.

“Russia and the U.S. are now expected … to deliver the Castello Road new arrangement,” he said. “We heard today from the Russians that that is already taking place.”

“I’ve urged the Russian government to make sure that they exercise influence on the Syrian government, and also the American side to make sure that Syrian armed groups, they also fully cooperate,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a news conference on Wednesday.

The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.