Aid delivery to border begins, says relief body
ANKARATurkey has begun handing out food and other humanitarian aid to Syrians right on their common border as the worsening conflict in Syria makes aid distribution there increasingly difficult, Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said.
The move coincides with a sharp increase in the number of Syrians fleeing the fighting in the 17-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, taking the total in Turkey to nearly 70,000 and challenging its ability to cope. AFAD has announced that there were 68,200 Syrians currently staying in Turkey after fleeing clashes in their country.
“The distribution of humanitarian aid by our country right on the border with Syria has begun,” AFAD said in a statement on Aug. 18. Turkey has told the United Nations of the new practice and has opened a centre in its southeastern town of Gaziantep to receive international aid, AFAD said, adding that it needed dried, tinned and baby food, bedding and personal hygiene items.
The Turkish Red Crescent has also set up sites at four places on the border with Syria to receive local donations. The humanitarian situation in Syria has deteriorated as fighting escalates, cutting off civilians from food supplies, health care and other assistance.