BEIRUT

Middle East

Activists accuse Red Crescent of bias in aid deliveries

A boy receives humanitarian aid in Douma, Damascus March 29, 2014. (REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh)

BEIRUT: Activists in the coastal town of Banias have accused the Red Crescent of bowing to regime pressure in the distribution of humanitarian food aid. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Sunday cited local activists as saying that Red Crescent personnel declined to deliver food to families that had been identified by the regime as pro-opposition.

They said deliveries of humanitarian aid were affected in a neighborhood of the city of Banias, as well as the villages of Baida and Basatin, all majority-Sunni areas. Those denied aid were the families of detainees, or those wanted by the regime’s security services for involvement with the opposition.

Meanwhile, supplies of emergency food aid entered the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Damascus Sunday, according to the Observatory. Several civilians suffering from malnutrition were evacuated at the same time, the group said.

The deliveries came despite violent clashes overnight in the area between the pro-regime Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and Islamist fighters, local activists said.

UNRWA has been delivering intermittent shipments of food and medical aid to the 20,000 residents trapped inside Yarmouk since a fragile truce between the government and rebels was agreed earlier this year. The neighborhood has been blockaded by regime forces since the summer of 2013.

Humanitarian aid also reached residents besieged in the rebel-held town of Douma near Damascus Saturday. Teams from the U.N., the World Health Organization and the Red Crescent, accompanied by rebel groups, brought 16 truckloads of food and hygiene kits into the neighborhood, activists said.

The U.N. Security Council has demanded that all parties allow safe access for humanitarian aid across conflict lines, and it has called on both sides to immediately lift sieges of populated areas.

It has also demanded that all parties stop depriving civilians of food.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 31, 2014, on page 8.

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Summary

Activists in the coastal town of Banias have accused the Red Crescent of bowing to regime pressure in the distribution of humanitarian food aid. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Sunday cited local activists as saying that Red Crescent personnel declined to deliver food to families that had been identified by the regime as pro-opposition.

They said deliveries of humanitarian aid were affected in a neighborhood of the city of Banias, as well as the villages of Baida and Basatin, all majority-Sunni areas.

The neighborhood has been blockaded by regime forces since the summer of 2013 .


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