Aid to Syria's Daraya refused entry

2016-05-13 06:30
The shrouded bodies of Syrian children, during the funeral of people who activists say were killed by regime forces in Daraya, near Damascus. (LCC Syria, AFO/HO)

The shrouded bodies of Syrian children, during the funeral of people who activists say were killed by regime forces in Daraya, near Damascus. (LCC Syria, AFO/HO)

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Beirut - An aid convoy was refused entry to Syria's Daraya on Thursday, the Red Cross said, dashing hopes for the first such delivery since regime forces began a siege of the rebel-held town in 2012.

"Sadly our aid convoy with UN and Syria Red Crescent was refused entry to Daraya, despite being given prior clearance from all sides," the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Twitter.

"We urge the responsible authorities to grant us access to Daraya, so we can return with desperately-needed food & medicines" outside the capital Damascus, it said.

ICRC's Syria chief Marianne Gasser, who was part of the convoy, described the refusal of access as tragic.

"Communities in Daraya are in need of everything, and it's tragic that even the basics we were bringing today are being delayed unnecessarily," she said.

"Daraya has been the site of relentless fighting for more than three and a half years, and we know the situation there is desperate," she said.

Daraya had a pre-war population of around 80 000 people but that has dropped by almost 90 percent, with remaining residents suffering from severe shortages and malnutrition.

A five-truck convoy organised by the ICRC, the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent had been due to deliver baby milk and medical and school supplies.

"Beyond allowing this initial convoy through, the ICRC and its partners need concerned authorities to let it provide other essentials such as food, and allow it to help restore basic services like water and electricity," the ICRC said in a statement.

The United Nations says more than 400 000 people are living under siege in Syria, most of them in areas besieged by the regime.

Syria's conflict has killed more than 270 000 and displaced millions since it erupted with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests in 2011.

Read more on:    icrc  |  syria  |  aid

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