UN to expand Syria aid as truce holds

Photo: Reuters

The UN says it plans to deliver aid to about 150,000 Syrians in besieged areas over the next five days amid a partial truce in the country’s civil war, the BBC reports.

It said it was ready to help an estimated 1.7 million people in hard-to-reach areas by the end of March.

A cessation of hostilities began on Saturday and there have been complaints of breaches from both sides.

But it otherwise appears to be intact with a key Syrian opposition group saying the situation is much better.

The UN’s humanitarian co-ordinator in Syria, Yacoub el-Hillo, called the truce “the best opportunity that the Syrian people have had over the last five years for lasting peace and stability”.

The organisation plans to use the lull to deliver food, water and medicine to towns like Madaya, where residents have reportedly been starving to death.

It says it needs the approval of Syria’s warring parties before it can further expand its deliveries.

Efforts to deliver aid to Islamic State-besieged Deir al-Zour by air last week failed when several pallets were damaged, disappeared or landed in no-man’s land.

Almost 500,000 people are living under siege in Syria, the UN estimates.

The cessation of hostilities was agreed as part of a plan by the US and Russia.


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