The United Nations and partner aid organizations plan to deliver life-saving aid to 154,000 Syrians in besieged areas in the next five days, the UN Resident Coordinator in Damascus Yacoub El Hillo said in a statement yesterday.
Pending approval from parties to the conflict, the UN is ready to deliver aid to about 1.7 million people in hard-to-reach areas in the first quarter of 2016, he said.
The UN estimates there are almost 500,000 people living under siege, out of a total 4.6 million who are hard to reach with aid, but it hopes that a cessation of hostilities that began on Friday night will bring an end to the 15 sieges.
“It is the best opportunity that the Syrian people have had over the last five years for lasting peace and stability,” El Hillo said.
“But we all know that without a meaningful political process and a political solution, both cessation of hostilities and entry of humanitarian assistance will not be enough to end the crisis in Syria.”
The UN hopes to deliver aid to Moadamiya today, the “four towns” of Zabadani, Kufreya, Foua and Madaya on Wednesday, and Kafr Batna on Friday.
But the biggest single siege, of about 200,000 people in Deir al-Zor, is not affected by the cessation of hostilities because the besieging Islamic State forces are excluded from the agreement.
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: Agencies)