UN aid convoy ready to enter Syria from Turkey for first time

By REUTERS
March 19, 2014 14:47
1 minute read.

 
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A UN convoy of about 80 trucks is ready to cross the Turkish border into Syria for the first time, aid officials said on Wednesday, in a step they hope will pave the way for humanitarian access to the country's most desperate areas.

The convoy became possible after the UN Security Council last month unanimously called on Syrian authorities and rebels to allow prompt access for humanitarian supplies across front lines and borders by the most direct routes.

Last week, Syria granted its approval to the opening of the border crossing and sources said Turkey had also now given the delivery the go-ahead.

However, one Western official said the convoy would not reach some of the areas worst affected by the conflict, which has killed more than 140,000 people, driven 2.5 million to seek refuge abroad and displaced a total of 9 million.

"This is a significant step because it is the first UN convoy going across from Turkey into Syria since the conflict started," a senior aid official told Reuters.

The official added that non-governmental organizations had already been using Turkey's Nusaybin border post close to the Kurdish city of Qamishli inside Syria "for years" to convey smaller consignments of aid.

"Obviously we need more access," the official added.

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