UN: Syria needs grow, rebel-held north out of reach

Syrian government refuses to allow aid to cross into area, as most border crossings controlled by rebels, UN aid chief Amos says.

By REUTERS
February 19, 2013 21:22
2 minute read.
Senior UN official Valerie Amos

valerie amos 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

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 analysis 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

GENEVA - The rebel-held north of Syria remains largely out of reach to aid operations, even though they have been stepped up elsewhere in the country torn by civil war, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said on Tuesday.

"We are watching a humanitarian tragedy unfold before our eyes," Amos told a news briefing. "We must do all we can to reassure the people that we care and that we will not let them down."

Syrian opposition representatives told the UN this week that some three million people living throughout rebel-held territory require international assistance, she said.

The Syrian government still refuses to allow UN convoys to cross from Turkey into northern Syria, as most border crossings are controlled by the Free Syrian Army, she said.

Four million Syrians were deemed in need of aid late last year, but the situation has deteriorated since due to shelling, inflation, and shortages of food and medicine, she said.

Some 70,000 people have been killed in the nearly two-year-old revolt against President Bashar Assad that has also sent 860,000 refugees fleeing abroad, according to the world body.

Typhoid has broken out in an rebel-held Deir al-Zor due to people drinking contaminated water from the Euphrates River, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

In the last few weeks, the UN refugee agency reached rebel-held Azaz with aid for the first time. WHO has delivered vaccines in many opposition-held areas, Amos said.


"Cross-line operations are difficult but they are do-able.

"We are crossing conflict lines, negotiating with armed groups on the ground to reach more in need. But we are not reaching enough of those who require our help. Limited access in the north is a problem that can only solved using alternative methods of aid delivery," Amos said.

She held talks with Suhair Atassi, a vice president of the opposition Syrian National Council, on Monday. Syrian deputy foreign minister Hossam Eddin attended the closed-door Geneva forum on Tuesday but opposed the rebels taking part, she said.

The Syrian government has agreed that 3 more international agencies could deploy aid workers - Mercy Corps, NRC and Merlyn - bringing the total to 11, but still not enough, Amos said.

"With respect to the Turkish border, I have spoken to the (Syrian) government on a number of occasions about allowing us to bring in supplies across that border. My last conversation with them was yesterday. The answer remains no," Amos said.

The UN must uphold General Assembly resolutions requiring consent of a government to allow relief goods to be imported, unless authorised by a Security Council resolution, she said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani listens during a news conference on the sidelines of the 73rd sessio
May 21, 2019
Rouhani: Resistance is our only choice

By REUTERS