The United Nations says its aid convoys cannot reach around 250,000 people in areas besieged by Syrian government forces or rebels, despite “growing needs and intensifying conflict.”
The detailed assessment was included in a confidential paper that Valerie Amos, U.N. emergency relief coordinator, presented to a private, unannounced U.N. meeting in Geneva on Tuesday.
“The response is continuing but falling short, especially in besieged and hard-to-reach areas,” said the report, obtained by Reuters. “Besieged communities continue to be cut off.”
International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi announced on Monday that peace talks would be held on Jan. 22, the first direct talks between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and opposition forces seeking to topple him.
The U.N. document entitled “Humanitarian Situation and Response in Syria” painted a grim picture, saying there were 900 armed clashes in Syria in October compared with 500 in May.
It describes a “dangerous and difficult environment for humanitarian workers” and says 12 U.N. staff and 32 volunteers or staff of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been killed since the conflict began in March 2011. Another 21 U.N. staff members remain in detention, it said, without giving details.
UNRWA, the U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees, said on Tuesday that staffer Mohammad Suheil Yousef Awwad had been killed along with three passengers on Nov. 24 when a mortar shell struck his vehicle in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.
The war has driven 6.5 million people from their homes in Syria and prompted another 2.2 million to flee abroad. The United Nations has not updated its estimated death toll since July when it said the conflict had killed 100,000.
Some 9.3 million Syrians inside the country need assistance, half of them children, the document said. An estimated 575,000 people are wounded or need life-saving care.
It said the government has denied permission in the past month for U.N. convoys or missions to areas besieged by Assad's forces - including 7,000 people living in Mouadamiya and 160,000 in Eastern Ghouta, both outside Damascus, and 4,000 in Homs Old City. Some 25,000 are trapped by both sides in Yarmouk and 9,000 in Daraya, two areas just outside the capital.
Nor has access been permitted to Nubl and Zahra, two villages with a total of 45,000 people besieged by various rebel forces in the northern province of Aleppo, the document said.
In all, nine convoys were approved in November, including seven to Homs, up from a monthly three or four in recent months. “Approval procedure remains the same but changes promised,” the report said, referring to the lengthy quest for government permission to send relief convoys.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر