Middle East

UN denies aid reaching Syria regime

KUWAIT CITY: UN humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos Wednesday denied that part of the aid money raised for war-hit Syrians goes to the regime, but agreed that several rebel-held areas were still out of reach.

"It's not true. We are working with a number of partners on the ground. There is no money going directly to the government," Amos told reporters on the sidelines of an international donors conference on Syria held in Kuwait City.

International medical charity group Medcins Sans Frontiers (MSF) has criticised the current international aid system which it said is "not being distributed equally between government and opposition controlled areas."

"The areas under government control receive nearly all international aid, while opposition-held zones receive only a tiny share," the group said late Tuesday, putting the number of Syrians living in opposition-held areas at around seven million.

The Syrian regime tightly monitors aid groups it authorises to work on its soil.

Amos said the distribution of aid has met great difficulties because of the security situation inside the country, and acknowledged that the world body has been unable to reach all opposition-controlled areas.

"There have been parts of Syria that we have not been able to reach. We all regret that and we need to do more working with the groups on the ground, particularly the opposition groups," she said.

Amos said that about 48 percent of the food aid was delivered to "opposition-controlled and disputed areas."

International donors at Wednesday's Kuwait conference pledged almost $1 billion in aid for stricken Syrians, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned of a "catastrophic" situation in their war-torn country.

The funds raised are expected to provide aid to around five million Syrians affected by their country's 22-month conflict.





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