Aid arrives in Damascus suburb; humanitarians say it’s not enough

Aid-arrives-in-Damascus-suburb-humanitarians-say-its-not-enough.  DAMASCUS, Syria,  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been accused of failing to respect a deadline that would have distributed humanitarian aid to besieged areas.

The United Nations, the Syrian Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross delivered aid to the Syrian areas of Darayya and Muadhamiya on Wednesday. The Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been criticized for failing to allow humanitarian agencies to deliver aid. Photo courtesy of International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria

On Wednesday, a convoy delivered a small amount of medicine and non-food aid to the besieged Damascus suburb of Darayya. About 4,000 people have been left without food aid in Darayya since 2012. Food parcels and wheat flour also reportedly arrived in the town of Muadhamiya. The aid was delivered by teams from the United Nations, the Syrian Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“The Assad regime has cynically allowed limited amounts of aid into Darayya and Muadhamiya but it has failed to deliver the widespread humanitarian access called for by the international community,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement.

The United Nations estimates more than 13.5 million people need assistance due to the Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 250,000 people. About 600,000 people are believed to live in besieged areas.

The United States, France and Britain have urged the United Nations to begin air dropping humanitarian aid as they accuse Assad’s regime of failing to allow access to humanitarian services. The U.N. Security Council will meet on Friday to discuss the humanitarian air drops.

U.S. Department of State spokesman John Kirby said hundreds of thousands of Syrians need “sustained and regular” access to aid, urging the Syrian government to allow the possibility.

“What we have said all along is we want them to support sustained, complete, comprehensive, unimpeded access of humanitarian assistance,” Kirby said. “They have not met that expectation, consistently have not met that expectation. And to the degree that they have hindered it, limited it, allowed it to get tantalizingly close to people in need and then pull it back or pull parts of it back, clearly, it shows at the very least a lack of concern for their own citizens and a willingness to spit in the face of the international community as the international community continues to push for that delivery.”

Stephen O’Brien, a U.N. emergency relief coordinator, previously said the Syrian government has ignored “countless” requests for aid.

By Andrew V. Pestano