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Aid Deliveries to Syria's Besieged Areas Making Progress

  • Lisa Schlein

Vehicles of a UN and SARC aid convoy, with food, nutrition, health and other emergency items, enter the rebel-held town of Douma, east of the Syrian capital Damascus, June 10, 2016.

Vehicles of a UN and SARC aid convoy, with food, nutrition, health and other emergency items, enter the rebel-held town of Douma, east of the Syrian capital Damascus, June 10, 2016.

Progress is being made in the delivery of humanitarian assistance to tens of thousands of Syrians trapped in besieged areas. In Geneva, a senior United Nations official said 16 of Syria's 18 besieged areas soon will have been reached.

Jan Egeland, the special adviser to U.N. Special Envoy for Syria, said significant progress is being made. This, he said, comes after several weeks where virtually nothing was getting through to the thousands of people in Syria who have been without food and other aid for months or, in some cases, years.

Egeland said two convoys are loaded with food and other relief supplies ready to go to several areas including Al Waer, near the town of Homs, and Afrin in northern Aleppo.

"Today alone, we hope to reach 110,000 people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas with more than 100 trucks and vehicles," he said. "All of this happens while the fighting has gotten worse. The bombing is worse. The protection needs of the civilian population are being trampled upon across the Syrian map."

Egeland said it is a positive sign that a 48-hour truce was declared in Aleppo city to allow aid convoys to go through. He attributed the negotiated truce and the progress in reaching the affected areas to more effective diplomatic pressure from Russia and the United States.

"I really hope that this was a turning point for humanitarian access to besieged areas and also to hard-to-reach areas; but we should not be naïve," he said. "The war is continuing, and in a war zone everything is fragile."

Special adviser Egeland said the United Nations is acutely aware that the access that exists today could end tomorrow.

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