An aid convoy carrying medicine, baby formula and vaccines but not food has entered the Damascus suburb of Darayya for the first time since it was besieged by regime forces in 2012.
Head of the media office of the Daraya local council Karam Alshami said that the aid trucks that entered the town only contained “half a load or less, not to mention the urgent need was for food.” He pointed out that the aid convoy included five trucks loaded with medical supplies and hygiene kits, adding that it was “unreasonable how such items were delivered to residents who have been living under siege for nearly four years.”
According to Alshami, the aid items included 100 packs shampoo, 100 packs of medicine, 50 packs of anti-scabies ointment, and 2 first aid kits that were presented by the UNICEF. The aid convoy also contained 1,000 packs of shampoo and 1,000 mosquito nets presented by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The WHO provided 237 packs of medicines, while the Syrian Arab Red Crescent provided 2,160 packs of baby formula and 1,440 packs of milk powder. The United Nations provided 1,000 packs of shampoo, 5 wheelchairs for children and 20 more for adults and 14 boxes of medicines, according to Alshami.
Regime forces meanwhile shelled the southern parts of Daraya with rockets and heavy artillery, killing 2 people despite the presence of the UN delegation in the town and in violation of the US-Russian brokered truce.
A rebel commander in the town said that the FSA responded to the regime’s shelling by targeting regime positions in the town. He added that the regime bombardment destroyed a number of houses and also set crops surrounding the town on fire.
The US, Britain and France have attempted to put pressure on the Assad regime by demanding that it allow airdrops of aid into besieged areas.
The international community had set a deadline of June 1 to turn to air drops if the Assad regime failed to adhere to an agreement to allow large-scale aid to reach the towns.
On Thursday Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, acknowledged that airdrops were costly and fraught with difficulties, but said the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) had pledged to try aid drops by the June 1 deadline at a meeting in April and now needed to act to retain its credibility. He said the easing of blocks on convoys by the Assad regime on Wednesday was too little too late.
Hammond said: “While airdrops are complex, costly and risky, they are now the last resort to relieve human suffering across many besieged areas. Countries with influence over the Assad regime such as Russia and Iran must now ensure that these air operations can proceed in a safe and secure manner.”
“The Assad regime has cynically allowed limited amounts of aid into Darayya and Moadamiyeh but it has failed to deliver the widespread humanitarian access called for by the international community,” Hammond added. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Smart News Agency)