Aid delivery to Syria from Iraq ‘reviewed’

Aid delivery to Syria from Iraq ‘reviewed’

UNITED NATIONS - The Associated Press
Aid delivery to Syria from Iraq ‘reviewed’

Residents of Syria’s Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, south of Damascus, gather near destroyed buildings to collect aid food. AFP photo

The U.N. humanitarian chief has said there are 'significant challenges' in delivering humanitarian aid into Syria from Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, including a multitude of opposition and terrorist groups.

The Security Council unanimously approved a resolution on July 14 authorizing cross-border delivery of aid to Syrians in rebel-held areas without government approval through four crossings in the three countries.

Valerie Amos said in a statement to the press after briefing a closed council meeting by videoconference that the first aid convoy crossed into Syria from Turkey through the Bab al-Salam crossing on July 24 carrying food, shelter materials, household items and water and sanitation supplies for approximately 26,000 people in Aleppo and Idlib governorates. “There are significant challenges to operating across these four border points, including ongoing fighting, existence of a multitude of armed groups, and terrorist groups, which have stated their objections to international aid and aid workers,” she said.

Amos said U.N. monitors are in place and she hopes to confirm the crossing of other convoys in the coming days.

But given the volatile situation near the Iraqi border, she said, “we will review when we can start using the Al Yarubiyah crossing point.” The Iraqi-Syrian border area is controlled by the extremist Islamic State group which went on a lightning offensive last month.

In his monthly report to the council last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused opposition groups of “severely constraining access” to eastern Syria and singled out the Islamic State “terrorist group” for blocking all humanitarian and commercial access into areas it controls, affecting 711,000 people.