Middle East: Progress made on humanitarian track for Syria, UN advisor reports

The advisor to the United Nations envoy on Syria today reported further progress in the humanitarian relief efforts in the conflict-battered country, with more areas reached, allowing medical kits to get through checkpoints, and children to be vaccinated.

Syria Aid 2303Photo: OCHA/Josephine Guerrero

Geneva, March 23, 2016.- Briefing the media in Geneva, Jan Egeland, the Special Advisor to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, said humanitarian convoys have already reached or got verbal Government consent to reach most of the 18 besieged areas, except Darayya and Douma.

Last night, an inter-agency convoy of the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent arrived in Al Houla in Homs for the first time since last October, he said. A convoy also reached the Orem area in western Aleppo over the weekend.

“We are now up to 384,000 people reached since the beginning of the year via inter-agency convoys in hard-to-reach areas, besieged areas, and other priority cross-line areas,” he said.

With verbal permissions having just been issued for eight or nine of the 11 areas the UN requested for April, that number is expected to double in the coming weeks, he added.

He also reported that medical kits went through to Al Houla after extensive negotiations. But surgical material was again taken off the convoys. “It is a war zone; civilians and others need surgical help,” he insisted.

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