News / Middle East

UN, Humanitarian Group Seek to Step Up Syria Aid

FILE - U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos.
FILE - U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos.
Margaret Besheer
— The United Nations' humanitarian chief said Wednesday that a Security Council resolution aimed at expanding the reach of humanitarian aid in Syria is not working, while violence continues to rise in the country.  Separately, the head of the mission to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons said they will not meet the June 30 deadline for the elimination of all chemical agents.  

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told reporters that violations of the most basic principles of international humanitarian and human rights law continue in Syria.  

"Since the secretary-general's last report we have seen a marked increase in the indiscriminate use of barrel bombs by the government, mortar attacks by opposition groups, poisonous gases allegedly used against civilians, and the collective punishment of civilians," said Amos.

She said the lack of progress on the political front has increased the pressure and expectations on humanitarian actors, who are continuing to look for ways to maximize the delivery of aid.

"To reach every Syrian in need we need to use all delivery routes. That means cross-line and cross-border, and we need donors to fund U.N. agencies and our NGO partners," she said.

Amos said nearly a quarter of a million people are in besieged areas - the majority of which are controlled by the government - and aid workers have only been able to reach 7 percent of them.  She said sieges are inhumane and must stop.

U.N. Security Council members are negotiating a new draft resolution on aid deliveries to Syria.  Diplomats with knowledge of the discussions say the draft would include specific references to cross-border access.  They also want a new resolution to be enforceable.  Getting Russia and China to agree to such a firm stance could take some time and concessions, but diplomats say they hope they can avoid another double veto.

Meanwhile, the head of an international mission to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons, Sigrid Kaag, briefed the council Wednesday.

She told reporters that just over 7 percent of Syria's declared chemical weapons materials still have to be removed from the country.  The 100 metric tons of chemicals are located at one site, which the Syrian authorities say they cannot access due to the security situation in the area.

Kaag said this delay means the mission will miss the June 30 deadline for the complete elimination of all Syria's chemical weapons.

"The deadline will not be met. What is important, however, is that all the materials are out of harm's way and the destruction can start as soon as possible aboard the U.S. ship, as considerable time has lapsed and considerable costs and time and investments have been made to get the job done," she said.

The joint mission began its work nine months ago after Syria's government was accused of using chemical weapons in an attack that killed hundreds of people in a Damascus suburb.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid