Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


UN aid chief accuses Syria of blocking help to neediest

30 January 2017, 10:18

UN - The UN humanitarian chief accused the Syrian government on Thursday of blocking aid to hundreds of thousands of the country's neediest people despite a nationwide cease-fire that has given "a glimmer of hope" that the conflict might be coming to an end.

Undersecretary-General Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council that a two-step approval process that the government agreed to for humanitarian convoys to cross conflict lines to get to besieged and hard to reach areas "has become, in practice, a 10-step process."

Minimal access

Despite the December 30 cease-fire and a humanitarian task force whose sole purpose is to ensure access, he said, "we continue to be blocked at every turn, by lack of approvals at central and local levels, disagreements on access routes, and violation of agreed procedures at checkpoints by parties to the conflict."

O'Brien said the result is that only one convoy delivered aid to 6 000 people in December, when the UN asked for approval to help 930 250 people - and he criticised the removal of over 23 000 medical items from the trucks that did get through. So far in January, he said, the situation isn't much better with just a single convoy reaching 40 000 people.

O'Brien said the Syrian government did respond to the UN's monthly convoy plans within the agreed seven working days.

"But subsequent administrative delays on the part of the government, including in the approval of facilitation letters, approval by local governors and security committees, as well as broader restrictions by all parties continue to hamper our efforts," he said.

A call to Syria's UN Mission seeking comment was not answered.

‘Staggering’ humanitarian needs

O'Brien urged council members with influence to pressure the Syrian government to allow aid deliveries to all besieged and hard to reach areas.

The council, in a statement, urged all parties "to intensify efforts to ensure sustained and unhindered humanitarian access."

As a result of the evacuation of rebel-held eastern Aleppo and a comprehensive UN review, O'Brien said the number of besieged areas has been reduced from 16 to 13, and the number of people estimated to be living in those areas has dropped from some 974 080 to some 643 780.

He singled out four areas where humanitarian action "remains greatly needed and, sadly, often contested."

Humanitarian needs in Aleppo "continue to be staggering," O'Brien said, with at least 160 000 people temporarily displaced. In eastern Aleppo, he said over 65 000 people have been registered as having returned or stayed, most living in damaged houses.

Searching for an end

He added that the UN is following up on reports that "stockpiles of humanitarian supplies" have been found in east Aleppo since late December when government forces and their allies took control.

O'Brien also expressed concern for the safety of 93 500 people in the besieged western side of Deir el-Zour following reports of attacks by fighters from the Islamic State extremist group, and for over 400 000 people in need of aid in Raqqa, the Islamic State group's headquarters.

The UN is also deeply troubled at the cut-off of the main water supply to some 5.5 million people in Damascus, and O'Brien said if this was deliberate "those responsible may have committed a war crime."

O'Brien warned that the humanitarian crisis won't end until the conflict, now in its sixth year, ends and he urged the council to rally behind UN-led negotiations to find a political solution.

The Security Council also called for stepped-up efforts to consolidate the cease-fire and reiterated support for a political solution.


- AP


Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Separating kitchen politics from ...

Like everyone else, I believe that the most popular definition of democracy is “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. Read more...

Submitted by
Bethel Tanifo
Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, ...

Like NDDC Unlike MONDA. This notion is an intuition that does not portend political participation, affiliation, intrusion or aggression but a submission with the intention of completion of the previous administration's noble vision. Read more...

Submitted by
Bethel Tanifo
Nigerian Constitution versus Corr...

The problems of Nigeria is not in its conventional composition, formation, functionality, constitution or treaty, while the solutions are not disintegrations as promulgated by some faiths fanatics and bigotries.  Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Much Ado about Trump’s Presidency

It was unbelievable when the social and mainstream media all over the world began airing the breaking news of Donald Trump’s victory in the most contentious US Presidential elections in recent years. Read more...

Submitted by
Mike Daemon
Nigerian author highlights gay ch...

A new novel by a prolific young Nigerian author features gay characters, which could help increase the visibility of the gay community and possibly lead to greater understanding of LGBT Nigerians. Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Your Excellency, I will call you ...

Your Excellency, Governor Adams Oshiomhole, as a leader that pays attention to details, I understand that the odd title of this piece would definitely arouse your curiosity.  Read more...