Syrian regime ignored most of UN's aid requests

United Nations says Syrian regime last year ignored most of its requests to deliver aid to people in besieged areas

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Stephen O’Brien, Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, speaks during the meeting on the humanitarian situation in Syria on January 27, 2016 at the UN in New York

The United Nations aid chief Stephen O’Brien said on Wednesday that the Syrian regime in 2015 ignored most of UN’s requests to deliver humanitarian aid to some of the 4.6 million people in hard-to-reach and besieged areas and only 620,000 received help.

O’Brien told the UN Security Council that last year the UN made 113 requests to the Syrian regime for approval of inter-agency aid convoys, but only 10 percent could deliver assistance.

Another 10 percent were approved in principle by the Syrian regime, but could not proceed due to a lack of final approval, insecurity or no safe passage as the UN put 3 percent on hold due to insecurity.

The remaining 75 percent of the requests were not answered, O’Brien said.

"Such inaction is simply unacceptable," O’Brien said.

"The impact on the ground is tangible: in 2013, we reached some 2.9 million people through the inter-agency convoy mechanism, but only 620,000 (in 2015)," he added.

"More and more people are slipping out of our reach every day as the conflict intensifies and battle lines tighten," O'Brien said.

Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O'Brien speaks before the United Nations Security Council about the humanitarian crisis in Syria on January 27, 2016 in New York City (AFP).

The UN reported that in total, 13.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian aid, up from 1.3 million in 2014.

"Even with the worsening situation and continued access challenges, humanitarian workers in Syria continue to stay and deliver aid often at great personal risk," O'Brien said.

O'Brien also said that food was delivered to nearly 6 million people a month; health aid to nearly 16 million people; water, sanitation and hygiene support to 6.7 million and basic households items to 4.8 million in 2015.

"Let me be clear: the continued suffering of the people in Syria cannot be blamed on humanitarian organisations and staff," O'Brien said.

"It is the failure of both the parties and the international community that have allowed this conflict to continue for far too long," he added.

Syria UN mediator Staffan de Mistura was planning to hold talks on Friday on ending the civil war. However, those plans seem to be in danger after the opposition said that it would not show up unless attacks on civilian areas stopped first.

A Syrian regime crackdown on a pro-democracy movement in early 2011 exacerbated the civil war in Syria. DAESH terrorist group has been using the chaos to seize territory in Syria and Iraq.

According to the UN figures, at least 250,000 people have been killed and some 4.3 million Syrians have fled the country.

TRTWorld and agencies