UN is hopeful for cessation deal after airdrop aid fiasco

UN chairman expresses hope for cessation deal for Syria after humanitarian aid goes to waste

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Jan Egeland, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, looks on during the Task Force on Humanitarian Access in Syria's first meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, February 12, 2016.

Chairman of a humanitarian task force and Special Adviser to UN Syria Envoy Jan Egeland said on Thursday a drafted cessation of hostilities for Syria that will start on Saturday night should rescue the civilian population from “the abyss.”

He also added major and regional powers must use their influence on warring sides to secure clearance for UN aid convoys to reach all 480,000 people living in besieged towns.

US and Russia have agreed on a draft to call for a cessation of hostilities in Syria to begin on February 27 but this will exclude DAESH terrorists and Al Qaeda linked al Nusra Front.

"We need to cover the final areas in the besieged areas list, most of them are in the areas called eastern Ghouta. And we will be doing convoys in the coming days to this area," Egeland told reporters, referring to an area near Damascus.

He stressed the importance of access for convoys to reach Aleppo, which is besieged by regime forces, and Homs areas.

"All hopes are that the cessation of hostilities will further make access possible in the week ahead," he added.

Egeland said that after five years of civil war in Syria civilians can’t sustain the situation any longer.

"They've sold everything, they've lost everything, they are now really facing the abyss so it's now high time that there was a cessation of hostilities."

Syrian opposition stated that it was ready for the two-week for cessation deal in Syria to test the seriousness of the US and Russian commitments.

Meanwhile the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) on Wednesday performed its first airdrop of desperately needed aid to the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, which is besieged by DAESH terrorist group.

However, spokeswoman of WFP Bettina Luescher said that UN’s humanitarian aid that planned to help 200,000 people in the city ran into problems, 21 of the palettes were dropped by parachute and four were damaged and seven landed in the areas that cannot be reached in “no man’s land” and 10 remain unaccounted for.

"As you know airdrops, especially in a war zone, are complicated," Luescher said, stressing though that "we will try again. This was just the first attempt."

TRTWorld and agencies