UN sends aid to Syria
DAMASCUS – Agence France-Presse
AP photoU.N. convoys delivering aid to thousands of besieged Syrians were due to set out on Feb. 17, after Syria’s government approved access to seven besieged areas, including the city of Madaya, U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura’s office said on Feb. 16 in Damascus following a meeting with Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.
Speaking in Damascus de Mistura said aid convoys will be sent on Feb. 17 in what will be a test of whether the warring parties will allow in humanitarian supplies.
“It is the duty of the government of Syria to want to reach every Syrian person wherever they are and allow the UN to bring humanitarian aid,” de Mistura said after meeting Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.
“Tomorrow we test this,” he said on Feb. 16.
The Syrian Red Crescent said about 100 trucks carrying flour, other food supplies and medicines were to leave for five besieged areas on Wednesday.
About 20 trucks had departed for Fuaa and Kafraya, two Shiite towns in northwestern Idlib province besieged by rebels, the Red Crescent said.
About 40 trucks were due to depart later for Moadimayet al-Sham, a rebel-held town near Damascus encircled by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, Muhannad al-Asadi of the Red Crescent told AFP.
Another 35 vehicles were to travel to Madaya and Zabadani, two other regime-besieged towns near Damascus, he said.
An AFP journalist in Damascus saw nearly 20 trucks ready to depart for Madaya and Zabadani from outside U.N. offices in the Syrian capital, with about two dozen Red Crescent volunteers on hand.
Almost half a million people in Syria are in areas under siege, according to the U.N., after almost five years of civil war between Syria’s government and rebel forces.