the trucks

the trucks

Frustration Grows Over Roadblocks To Delivering Humanitarian Aid To Syrians In Need

7mo ago
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United Nations aid chief Valerie Amos describes humanitarian situation in Syria as getting worse with less than ten percent of those in besieged areas getting aid. Outside aid groups express frustration at the world body for not doing more to bring much-needed emergency supplies across the border into the war-torn country. Full story: United Nations aid chief Valerie Amos expressed growing frustration on Wednesday (April 30) over the inability of the world body to deliver much needed humanitarian aid to the war-torn country of Syria. Speaking to reporters after briefing the Security Council, Amos painted a dire picture of the humanitarian situation in the country. "I'm extremely concerned that less than 10 percent of the 242,000 people living in besieged areas received assistance in the past four weeks," she said. "I told the council there has been little progress since my last briefing and in fact I told them that each month I report on the relentless killing and maiming of civilians, the destruction of homes, schools and places of worship, the blatant disregard for life and the total disregard by all parties for the fundamental tenants of international humanitarian law." On Tuesday the United Nations spokesman's office rejected calls for it to deliver humanitarian aid across borders into Syria without the approval of the government in Damascus, saying such operations would be possible only under a stronger U.N. Security Council resolution. On Wednesday Amos repeated her call for the member of the council to exert their influence on the warring parties to make aid delivery possible. "It's now two months since resolution 2319 was adopted and as you know the Secretary-General presented his report to the council last week. It makes very grim reading. Far from getting better, the situation is getting worse," said Amos. The 15-member council achieved rare unity to unanimously approve in February a resolution demanding rapid, safe and unhindered aid access, including across borders. The resolution was binding, but not Chapter 7 and not enforceable. Meanwhile outside the world body a group called the 'Syria Campaign' protested across the street, holding up photos they say show trucks full of aid stuck at the border, waiting to get in. "There are 3.5 million Syrians -- the old, children, people who are sick, people who haven't had food for months -- who need food aid and medical aid. And just across Syria's borders in countries like Turkey and Jordan that aid exists and it's just sitting there. And what we're saying to the U.N. agencies is get in the trucks and drive the aid across those borders to the people who need it," said John Jackson, the director of the Syria Campaign. Aid groups like Jackson's working in Syria are frustrated at how the United Nations is handling the world's biggest humanitarian crisis, accusing it of excluding them and withholding information needed for assisting millions in need. Dozens of top lawyers from around the world argued in a letter to the United Nations on Monday (April 28) that there was no legal barrier for the world body to carry out cross-border aid deliveries or support other organizations to do the same. Jackson said the U.N. needs to demand access to Syria. "We have 35 of the world's leading lawyers, the best legal minds in the world, have now said the U.N. no longer has to wait for the government's permission to cross those borders. It can get in the trucks and it can drive the aid across. So, this is a critical moment for the U.N. to do the right thing." In the February resolution, the Security Council expressed "its intent to take further steps in the case of non-compliance" with the resolution. But council diplomats said Russia was unlikely to agree to any action, such as sanctions, if Syria's government was found to be at fault. Russia, supported by China, has shielded its ally Syria on the Security Council during the war. They vetoed three resolutions that would h...