UN says Syria blocking aid promised under US-Russia peace deal
Syria`s government is holding up delivery of UN aid that was supposed to move unhindered under a U.S.-Russian peace deal, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday.
Geneva: Syria`s government is holding up delivery of UN aid that was supposed to move unhindered under a U.S.-Russian peace deal, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday.
"The government, I repeat the government, was expected to provide... permits, authorisations," de Mistura told reporters in Geneva. They "have not been received", he added. The lack of permission was "a very major disappointment" even for Syria`s ally Russia, de Mistura said.
The reduction in violence since the U.S.-Russia agreement came into force at sunset on Monday had been substantial, but expecting a "cessation of hostilities" was perhaps ambitious after a war of five years, he said.
His humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said there had been no reports of civilian killings in the past 24 hours and attacks on schools and hospitals had stopped.
Egeland said aid convoys could reach besieged zones such as Moadamiyah, al Waer and Douma by the end of the week if the permits were issued, which would be simple to do.
"Can well-fed grown men please stop putting political, bureaucratic and procedural road blocks for brave humanitarian workers that are willing to go to serve women, children, wounded civilians in besieged and crossfire areas?" Egeland said.
De Mistura said some people had used the argument that offices were closed during this week`s Muslim Eid holiday, and the Syrian government had been "a little bit slow" during Eid, but he would not accept that as a valid reason.
Egeland said he hoped aid could go to Aleppo on Friday, but first all fighting forces had to disengage from the Castello Road supply route.
Castello Road has special status under the U.S.-Russia agreement and the United States and Russia are expected to manage a demilitarisation of the route, allowing new checkpoints to ensure the flow of aid, de Mistura said.
"Russia and the US are now expected ... to deliver the Castello Road new arrangement," he said. "We heard today from the Russians that that is already taking place."