U.N. AID CONVOYS ENTER SYRIA’S REBEL-HELD EASTERN GHOUTA
As many as 46 truckloads of relief aid entered the rebel-held Douma district, in the Eastern Ghouta countryside, east of the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Monday.
It was the first aid shipment to reach that hot-spot area, since the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to achieve a 30-day-long humanitarian ceasefire in Syria, on Feb 24.
It’s also the first shipment to enter that area since a Russian-backed humanitarian pause went into force, seven days ago.
The truckloads of aid, provided by the UN, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), entered the Douma district through a humanitarian corridor, in the Wafidin area, north-east of Damascus.
The long-awaited shipment entered a day after the UN announced it was sending the shipment to help meet some of the needs of the civilians in that rebel-held area.
During the process, Ali al-Zatari, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Syria, said, he was spearheading the convoy into Douma to supervise the delivery process.
The UN official, however, said that, the authorities in Syria have demanded to decrease this shipment, which was supposed to meet the demands of 70,000 people.
“This convoy is not enough as the parcels have been decreased from meeting the demands of 70,000 people to 27,500 people, this is why we hope to bring in aid convoys again on Thursday, to support the needs of civilians in Douma and other areas in Eastern Ghouta,” he said.
Eastern Ghouta has grabbed international attention recently since the military showdown has started to gain momentum on Feb 18, between the rebels and the Syrian government forces, which showed determination to dislodge the rebels from that sprawling area east of Damascus.
The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2401 on Feb 24, which requires all parties in Syria to immediately cease clashes and provides a sustained humanitarian break for at least 30 days across Syria.
Two days later, the Russians demanded a daily humanitarian pause for five hours in Eastern Ghouta specifically.
The area has been the major threat to Damascus, since the rebels took hold in that area in 2012, with armed militants launching attacks on the capital with mortar shells and in some instance through implementing incursion attempts.
Four major rebel groups are currently positioned inside Eastern Ghouta, namely the Islam Army, Failaq al-Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham and the Levant Liberation Committee, or the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, said that, the military offensive in Eastern Ghouta will continue in tandem with allowing humanitarian aid to enter the area and offer the civilians a chance to leave towards government areas in Damascus.
The UN humanitarian agencies have sounded the alarm about the worsening humanitarian situation in that region, where activists said, over 600 people have been killed since late last month by the heavy bombardment on their areas.
Source: NAM News Networkhttps://syrianewsgazette.com/u-n-aid-convoys-enter-syrias-rebel-held-eastern-ghouta/General