UN to provide aid in Syria

UN to provide aid in Syria


The UN says it hopes to start delivering aid to some besieged areas in Syria within the next 24 hours.The move comes shortly after world powers agreed to push for a cessation of hostilities in a week’s time.Some Syrian cities have been cut off from humanitarian aid for more than a year because of fighting in surrounding areas.More than 250,000 people have been killed and 13.5 million displaced in almost five years of fighting in Syria.A new UN task force to co-ordinate the distribution of the aid is expected to convene in Geneva later.”The UN system has been geared to deliver this aid all along, especially to besieged areas, and that’s precisely what’s going to be discussed today: how to start, and when to start,” UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said.”We hope to start as early as tomorrow, immediately after the meeting, decisions will be taken to roll the aid in, especially to besieged areas that need it”, he added.The plan to deliver aid was part of a package of measures agreed by the 17-member International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Munich on Friday.

The group also agreed to seek a nationwide “cessation of hostilities” in Syria to begin in a week’s time in measures.The halt will not apply to the battle against jihadist groups Islamic State (IS) and al-Nusra Front.The Syrian government has not yet responded, though a key rebel coalition welcomed the joint announcement by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.”If we see action and implementation on the ground, we will be soon in Geneva,” Salim al-Muslat told reporters, referring to UN efforts there to get peace talks between the Syrian government and rebels off the ground.The announcement comes as the Syrian army, backed by Russian air strikes, advances in Aleppo province.The move threatens to encircle tens of thousands of civilians in rebel-held parts of the major city of Aleppo.Planned peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups in Geneva collapsed earlier this month.


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