Aid reaches Syrian enclave for first time this year

By Daniel Uria  |  Feb. 14, 2018 at 8:09 PM
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Feb. 14 (UPI) -- An international convoy made its first delivery of food and humanitarian supplies this year to the Eastern Ghouta area of Syria on Wednesday.

The Syrian Red Crescent, which organized the convoy along with the United Nations, said nine trucks delivered food and medical supplies for about 1,440 families in the town of Nashabieh, east of Damascus.

"First U.N. and Syria Red Crescent inter-agency convoy this year crossed conflict lines to Nashabieh in East Ghouta to deliver food, health and nutrition supplies for 7,200 people in the besieged enclave," the United Nations in Syria wrote on Twitter.

Jacob Kern, Syria country director with the United Nations World Food Program, tweeted more aid is neccessary.

"We need much more such convoys," he wrote. "Fighting has to stop to deliver much needed aid to all civilians in need."

The convoy brought the first aid delivery since November to reach the besieged Eastern Ghouta enclave where about 400,000 face frequent bombings.

U.N. Syrian special envoy Staffan de Mistura told the U.N. Security Council more aid is needed.

"This is fine. But let's think about it -- that is less than 2 percent [of the population] ... we need much more," he said.

The council voted in December to renew cross-border aid deliveries to Syria for another year.

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock noted at the time that 500 people in Eastern Ghouta require urgent medical evacuation, including 137 children, and that 16 civilians have died waiting for the government to authorize their transfer to a Damascus hospital 30 minutes away.

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