UN official: US aid for Syria must go on

UN official: US aid for Syria must go on

UN official: US aid for Syria must go on

AFP photo

A top U.N. humanitarian aid official for Syria said he expected continued U.S. help in efforts to support beleaguered Syrian civilians under the newly elected Donald Trump’s presidency.

Jan Egeland, the special advisor to the United Nations special envoy for Syria, also cited reports yesterday from Syria that “the last food rations are being distributed as we speak” in besieged eastern parts of the city of Aleppo, The Associated Press reported.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Egeland said the U.N. needs “continued, uninterrupted U.S. help and engagement in the coming months,” and noted that progress is made only when the United States and Russia, a backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, are leading the diplomatic efforts.

Egeland said he could not speculate about whether the prospect of improved U.S.-Russia relations under Trump would have an impact.

Meanwhile, Syria’s main opposition group urged U.S. president-elect Trump to protect civilians and help end the bloodshed in the country, devastated by five years of war.

Riad Hijab, head of the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said Syrian civilians were in urgent need of protection from al-Assad’s regime, in a statement released on the night of Nov. 9, AFP reported.  

He called for American support to “establish peace in our region and to find fair and swift solutions for the threat of terrorism... especially the state terrorism practiced by the Syrian regime against the Syrian people,” Hijab said.  The United States leads an international coalition conducting air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  

Washington also supports certain rebel groups fighting the Russian-backed Assad regime. Hijab congratulated Trump on his election victory and urged him to provide “the fastest and most efficient means to protect civilians.” The conflict in Syria has left some 300,000 people dead since anti-regime protests in 2011 triggered a brutal government crackdown that has prompted accusations of war crimes.