Middle East

Syria Red Crescent, ICRC deliver aid in rebel Aleppo

People inspect a site hit by what activists said was a vacuum bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in the Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood of Aleppo June 8, 2014. REUTERS/Mahmoud Hebbo

BEIRUT: The International Committee of the Red Cross and Syria's Red Crescent have made rare aid deliveries in rebel-held territory in northern Aleppo province with government consent, a spokesman said Monday.

"Together with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), we were able to deliver food assistance and other essential items such as kitchen sets, hygiene kits, blankets, mattresses to an area called Arum in western Aleppo that is under opposition control," ICRC spokesman Ralph El Hage told AFP.

Although the seven-truck convoy carried enough aid for 30,000 people, El Hage said that "relative to the needs in the area this is little."

He said the delivery came a day after the organisation delivered medical aid to two government hospitals and two others in rebel-held parts of Aleppo city.

The city has been divided between government control in the west and rebel control in the east since shortly after fighting began there in mid-2012.

"Together with SARC, we were able to deliver medical assistance to two hospitals on the government side, Ar-Razi government hospital and Al-Askari military hospital," he said.

"And we delivered to two hospitals on the opposition side, in Sukkari and Shaar districts, crossing through the Bustan al-Qasr crossing with the SARC."

Syria's government has rarely granted permission for aid deliveries to opposition-controlled areas, and the ICRC operates only with consent from both rebels and regime.

Other aid groups have opted to deliver aid to rebel territory in northern Syrian via the nearby border with Turkey, defying Syrian government objections that such actions violate sovereignty.

In February, the UN Security Council, in a rare moment of unity on Syria, called for unfettered humanitarian access in the war-torn country.

There has been little sign the resolution has been heeded, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last month blamed the government in particular for blocking deliveries.

In a report that also blamed the armed opposition for blocking access in some instances, Ban said more than 3.5 million Syrians continue to have "woefully inadequate" access to humanitarian assistance.





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