Crucial humanitarian aid is blocked by the Assad regime


The population of Syria has, since January, suffered from starvation because, according to a Reuters report, the Assad regime is blocking crucial humanitarian aid convoys from the United Nation as a war tactic.

A Syrian security official reporting on the issue called it a “starvation until submission campaign”. The report shows that the Syrian Government is using food, by means starvation, as a weapon. The security official is assuring that this consists as a war tactic that results in starvation and death for uncountable civilians. The areas that are suffering from this tactic the most are around Homs and Damascus but there are also facts which indicates the Regime wants to cut opposition supplies in Aleppo by using barrel bombs. In fact, just few days ago, a Médicins Sans Frontières hospital was destroyed in an airstrike, and some of the killed were doctors.

“I cannot deny that that everyone in the meeting was disappointed” Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, said after last meeting of Humanitarian Access Task Force. The meeting was set up last week, to ensure access and delivery of aid. Mistura announced in the meeting the impossibility of reaching the most critical areas of Syria. The situation is frustrating, and many of the areas are besieged and non-reachable.

When asked for an explication, President Bashar al-Assad, justified his decision stating that it was a measure to guarantee security: forbidding the distribution of UN’s aids, the government avoided that the warring rebel parties could take advantage of the supplies.

The Syrian government has banned the access to most of the humanitarian aids to the cities of Damascus, Duma, Daraya and to the east part of Harasta. This restriction imposes obstacles to medical assistance: residents have been deprived of surgical equipments, anti-anxiety pills and atropine, used to guard against poison. The United Nations estimates more than 250,00 people are now trapped in besieged areas of Syria.

The Security Council have tried to make resolutions against the Syrian Government for a long time, but the proposals to condemn al-Assad have been vetoed by Russia and China. The biggest motivation regarding this issue is that the law of armed conflict requires all sides to allow free access of humanitarian relief for civilians in need. To deliberate starvation in a conflict is a war crime, and with international pressure the U.N. are doing their best to solve this.

The United Nations are trying to stay positive in the critical situation and stated recently that many airdrops with both food and medical aid has been successfully, assisted by World Food Programme. “The picture should not be completely negative, in the sense that, while we have to, and we must, insist on reaching these hard-to-reach or besieged areas, there is still a lot happening in Syria” Mistura said.

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