“Much of this aid could move faster. And so we call on the Assad regime to at least, in a moment of cessation of hostilities, try to show some measure of decency, if that is even possible,” Kerry said on Monday during a news conference alongside German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Kerry said the Assad regime “continues to drag his feet” on providing permits that would allow humanitarian convoys to get through.
“Assad regime officials and troops have gotten in the way of aid delivery,” Kerry said, “actually putting their hands into the shipments and taking out medicine, taking out other…items, simply to keep for themselves. That’s not the purpose of this.”
Despite reports of cease-fire violations, Kerry said the U.S. and Russia had agreed on a process to resolve reported cease-fire violations. He said a task force set up by the International Syrian Support would seek to assess the location of strikes and their targets.
For his part, German Foreign Minister Walter Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that for the first time in five years Syrians woke up hopeful of a day without bombs, rockets or fear. He added that though the ceasefire was not 100% observed everywhere in Syria, it is first time Syrians have an opportunity to see real comfort.
Steinmeier stressed that troublemakers must not be allowed to ruin what has been achieved in recent weeks since the Munich meeting, calling for seizing the opportunity provided by the truce to improve access humanitarian aid deliveries.
On Friday, the Syrian Coalition expressed concern over reports that airdrops delivered by WFP to Deir Ez-Zor have been seized by Assad’s forces and urged the UN to investigate this incident.
The Syrian Coalition said that “technical issues with the airdrop raise serious questions over the decision to select a Russian contractor airliner to undertake the task.”
“To ensure humanitarian airdrops deliver aid to civilians who need it most, the aircraft used must be selected on the basis of their capability to conduct airdrops effectively, and not on terms dictated by Russia,” the Syrian Coalition added. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)