UN says Syria blocking food aid; seeks airlift approval

June 8, 2016 03:11
2 minute read.


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

GENEVA/UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations is still waiting for Syrian government agreement for an aid convoy to enter the besieged town of Daraya and has requested approval to airlift food into four locations if land routes are unavailable, UN officials said on Tuesday.

Rebel-held Daraya got its first UN aid convoy since 2012 on June 1, but the shipment did not include food. The United Nations has said malnourished children in the Damascus suburb will die without outside help, a claim President Bashar al-Assad's government has denied.

"The blockage of aid is a political issue," UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told a regular UN briefing in Geneva. "Daraya is 12 km (7.5 miles) from Damascus, so it can be done but we need the political go-ahead from the government."

Daraya is one of four besieged areas for which the UN presented the Syrian foreign ministry on Sunday a backup plan to airlift food if land access is not approved, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York. It is awaiting approval.

"The written request included a plan for airlifts - not airdrops - as a last resort, to Daraya, Douma and Mouadamiya in rural Damascus Governorate, and Al Waer in Homs Governorate," Dujarric said.

So far Damascus has only authorized the delivery of medical assistance, school supplies and children's milk to Douma, Daraya and Mouadamiya during June, not food.

Al Waer was not among the areas approved for June. The Syrian government noted in a statement that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent had delivered seven trucks of medical supplies, food and children's milk to the area on June 1.

The UN convoy got through to Daraya on the day the Syrian government faced a deadline to admit aid by road or risk having air drops imposed by the countries of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), which includes Syria's ally Russia.

The convoy brought baby milk and medical supplies to support an estimated 4,000 civilians in the town besieged by government forces. UN officials had hoped food would arrive in a second convoy on Friday, but that was delayed with no government approval.

Syria's opposition said the government approved the first convoy in a cynical ploy to alleviate international pressure.

Bouthaina Shaaban, an adviser to Assad, said last week that "nobody is starving in Daraya," which was "producing peas and beans and food and wild berries that is enough for the entire Syria."

Related Content

Breaking news
August 15, 2018
Turkish court rejects U.S. pastor's appeal, upper court yet to rule, lawyer says