Syria urges coordination for aid deliveries to Aleppo
Syria says the delivery of humanitarian aid to the divided northwestern city of Aleppo, especially those provided by Turkey, should be coordinated with the Damascus government and the UN.
Damascus has also dismissed the entry of uncoordinated aid convoys to Aleppo without coordination with Damascus, Syria’s state television quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying in a statement on Tuesday.
“Commenting on the statement issued by the Turkish regime on its intention to send what it says is humanitarian aid into Aleppo, the Syrian Arab Republic announces its rejection of the entry of any humanitarian aid to Aleppo, particularly from the Turkish regime, without coordination with the Syrian government and the United Nations,” the statement read.
The statement was published on the heels of reports saying that an aid convoy was heading from Turkey to Aleppo, which has been divided since 2012 between government forces in the west and the militants in the east.
A witness told Reuters on Tuesday that some 20 trucks carrying aid crossed into northern Syria from the Turkish border town of Cilvegozu. An unnamed Turkish official said the trucks were mostly carrying food and flour.
The shipment came one day after as a nationwide ceasefire, brokered by the United States and Russia, went into effect in Syria.
The truce is the second attempt this year by Washington and Moscow to bring an end to the Syria crisis, which started in March 2011.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Ankara welcomes the nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria and is preparing to provide humanitarian aid to Aleppo in conjunction with the UN.
This is while Turkey is said to be among the main supporters of the militant groups active in Syria, with reports saying that Ankara actively trains and arms the Takfiri elements there and facilitates their safe passage into the violence-wracked state.
Security assurances required before sending aid to Syria: UN
Also on Tuesday, the UN said that it needed further security guarantees that the ceasefire is holding in Syria before it can send in aid convoys.
“We are waiting for this cessation of hostilities reinstated to actually deliver the assurances and the peace that we need before trucks can start moving in from Turkey,” Jens Laerke, the spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said at a news briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva.
Jessy Chahine, the spokeswoman for UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, also called on all sides involved in the Syrian conflict to seize the opportunity offered by the ceasefire.
“This agreement opens an important window of opportunity which needs to be used in order to end the five-year war…. We hope that parties will consider they are ready to return to talks, with humanitarian access delivered,” she said.