Food aid has reached less than half the civilians trapped in besieged areas of Syria, but much more remains to be done to help the 13.5 million in need across the country, according to a UN report released on Wednesday.
The monthly report to the Security Council found that despite a teetering cessation of hostilities, there was an overall increase in fighting and a significant rise in civilian casualties as well as the destruction of hospitals, markets and schools during the month of April.
According to the report, food assistance has reached over 200,000 people or 41.9 % of those living in besieged areas, nearly double the 21% reached in March.
“While that is positive, overall progress is small and fragile. We remain far short of consistently meeting the needs of the 13.5 million civilians in need in the Syrian Arab Republic,” the report said.
Meanwhile, the killing of civilians and violations of human rights rose sharply in April after a period of relative calm, the report said.
The report said that of the 35 relief convoys planned for May and intended to reach 904,750 people in hard-to-reach areas, the Assad regime had only granted full approval for 14, as of May 4, and had conditionally approved 8 more. Planned deliveries to 375,000 people in 13 other locations had not been approved.
A UN aid convoy on Wednesday entered Alhoula region of northern rural Homs which is besieged by regime forces.
Member of Alhoula local council Jihad Abu Ishaq said that the aid convoy is composed of 8 trucks loaded with nearly 210,000 kg of flour, 1,600 textbooks for schoolchildren, biscuits, and few hygiene kits.
The aid convoy, which was escorted by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and fighters of the Free Syrian Army based in Alhoula region, set off from the town of Masiyaf and arrived in Alhoula without reports of it coming under fire by regime forces.
Abu Ishaq pointed out that the aid delivered to Alhoula area suffices for a few weeks only as nearly 60,000 people live in the besieged area. He added that they received promises that more aid will be delivered to the area by the International Committee of the Red Cross in the coming days. (Source: Smart News Agency + Agencies)