News / Middle East

UNHCR Plans Syria Aid Airlift

FILE - A female Kurdish fighter from Kurdish People's Protection Units checks her weapon near Ras al-Ain, in the Syrian province of Hassakeh, after capturing it from Islamist rebels on November 6, 2013.
FILE - A female Kurdish fighter from Kurdish People's Protection Units checks her weapon near Ras al-Ain, in the Syrian province of Hassakeh, after capturing it from Islamist rebels on November 6, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— The United Nations' first relief airlift to Syria from Iraq will deliver food and winter supplies to the mostly Kurdish northeast over the next 10 days with the permission of both governments, U.N. aid agencies said on Tuesday.
 
The airbridge, using Ilyushin-76 commercial cargo planes flying to Hassakeh from Erbil in northern Iraq, will begin on Thursday. Up to 12 flights are scheduled through Sunday, said Amin Awad, director of the U.N. refugee agency's Middle East and North Africa Bureau.
 
Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the U.N.'s World Food Program (WFP), later said that it also planned 10 rotations over the next 10 days in an operation aimed at feeding more than 30,000 people for a month. Its first flight would carry 40 metric tons of food, including wheat flour, pasta, oil, sugar, salt, rice, canned beans and bulgur wheat, she said.
 
U.N. agencies have ferried limited aid supplies into Syria from Iraq and Lebanon, but not via Turkey because of objections from President Bashar al-Assad's government.
 
“This is the first time aid goes through Iraq,” Awad told Reuters in an interview in Geneva.
 
Syria gave permission about two weeks ago for the cross-border U.N. operation from Iraq into Syrian Kurdish areas of Hassakeh province, which had initially envisaged truck convoys via the Yarubiya border crossing, a cheaper option, he said.
 
“As the situation was very complicated, negotiating with many factions, we shifted to an airlift,” Awad said, noting that one main Kurdish group in the area was pro-Syrian government and the other pro-Turkish.
 
The previously unannounced joint UNHCR-WFP operation had been long planned by land, a Western diplomat said. “They had trucks and were ready to move a week ago. It was supposed to be over this past weekend but it didn't happen,” he told Reuters.
 
The cities of Hassakeh and Qamishli are to receive food and relief items as a harsh winter sets in, Awad said.
 
“Out of reach for a long time”
 
The total cargo of 285 metric tons to be brought in by the U.N. refugee agency will also include blankets, kitchen sets, plastic tarpaulins for shelter, sleeping mats, and jerry cans, UNHCR spokesman Dan McNorton said.
 
“The number of vulnerable people in Hassakeh is estimated at 50,000-60,000 but we are still doing assessments. Hassakeh has been out of reach for a long time,” Awad said.
 
Awad said the United Nations was still “lining up airlines that are willing to fly into that part of the country”.
 
Well over 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria, which began with peaceful protests against Assad in March 2011. The UNHCR says about 6.5 million people have fled their homes within Syria and 2.3 million sought refuge abroad.
 
“Winter is here. This is one of the harshest winters according to any forecast that you may get hold of, probably in the last 100 years,” Awad told a news briefing.
 
Iraq's envoy to the U.N., Nickolay Mladenov, tweeted:
 
“As zUNiraq and #Iraq agree humanitarian corridor to #Syria, I call on all to allow for the resupply to take place in an unobstructed manner.”

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid