Delivery of Syria aid difficult despite cessation deal

Red Cross spokesperson says many areas of Syria remain under siege by Syrian regime, armed groups obstruct aid delivery to people in need despite cessation of hostilities deal

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A boy looks on while residents inspect a damaged building in besieged city of Douma, a suburb of Damascus, Syria February 27, 2016.

Aid deliveries to Syrian people in need remains to be difficult because of the continuing siege of regime leader Bashar al Assad’s forces and armed groups including DAESH despite a nearly one month-old ceasefire agreement, a spokesman for International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday.

“The cessation of hostilities – honestly I don’t see the difference,” ICRC spokesman Pawel Krzysiek said.

“The hard to reach areas continue to be hard to reach, for several reasons: humanitarian negotiations, security, coordination on the ground, the procedures," Krzysiek said stressing the importance of providing permanent aid to besieged Syrians. Despite there being a drop in violence in Syria after the cessation deal, the delivery of aid remains to be a problem as it is still not regular enough. He also stated that, during the rare times the humanitarian organisation was able to have access to parts of western Syria , they managed to deliver aid along with Red Crescent and the United Nations.

“Even if people...received aid before the winter, like six or seven months ago, those people consumed those supplies,” he said. “We need to be given regular access, particularly to areas like al-Houda, where aid reached 70,000 people.”

According to the UN, humanitarian aid has reached 240,000 people in recent weeks after the cessation of hostilities deal took place, which aims to end six years of conflict in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights released a warning on Tuesday stating that a total number of 530 people were killed in Syria in areas covered by the cessation of hostilities agreement during its first 23 days.

Krzysiek said, the areas covered by the cessation of hostilities are secured, however the other parts of war-torn Syria continue to suffer as violence continues to take place. 

"There are still places in Syria where fighting goes on, causing human suffering," Krzysiek told AFP in mid-March.

"People talk about the ceasefire locations but forget the places where there is still fighting."

A similar warning previously came from Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, one of the countries most affected by the Syrian war.

He stated that the cessation deal was covering only one third of the country and said Turkey hopes to reach a deal which will expand to encompass all regions of Syria.

Red Cross made a statement titled “Syria: How much longer?” last week which revealed the urgent need of a more effective solution for the Syrian people.

The statement said, “over 13.5 million people in the country are still in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, five million of them children, many of whom have only known war.”

According to ICRC more than “6.6 million people have been displaced internally in five-years of Syrian war” and “over 9 million people have now fled the fighting in Steh country, the majority to the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.”


TRTWorld and agencies