Aid to besieged Syrian towns must be repeated, UN says

UNITED NATIONS — The UN humanitarian chief called for Monday's delivery of aid to three besieged towns in Syria to be the first of many and welcomed a Syrian statement that such deliveries should be repeated and sustained.

See Full Article

Stephen O'Brien told reporters after briefing the UN Security Council behind closed doors that the arrival of convoys to help civilians in the three towns cut off for months by the war in Syria must not be "either one-off or exceptional."

They must become the model for regular aid deliveries to civilians caught in conflict, which is a requirement under international law, he insisted.

The UN says 4.5 million Syrians are living in besieged or hard-to-reach areas and desperately need humanitarian aid, with civilians prevented from leaving and aid workers blocked from bringing in food, medicine, fuel and other supplies.

Reports of starvation and images of emaciated children have raised global concerns and underscored the urgency for new peace talks that the UN is hoping to host in Geneva on Jan. 25.

Aid convoys with food and other supplies reached three besieged villages on Monday — Madaya, near Damascus, where O'Brien said about 400 people need immediate life-saving treatment for medical conditions, malnourishment and starvation, and the Shiite villages of Foua and Kfarya in northern Syria.

Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told reporters that the government reiterated its commitment to cooperate fully with the UN and the Red Cross to deliver humanitarian assistance to all civilians "without any discrimination," including those in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.

He called reports of starvation in Madaya fabrications and lies and insisted that "the Syrian government is not and will not exert any policy of starvation against its own people." At the same time, however, he said economic sanctions against Syria and the influx of "terrorists from all over the world" are causing starvation and economic and humanitarian problems in the country.

Ja'afari accused Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of raising the humanitarian issue and "defaming" and "demonizing" the Syrian government in order to torpedo the Geneva talks because "they are not in favor of a political settlement."

France's UN Ambassador Francois Delattre warned after Monday's meeting that "there will be no credible political process without progress on the humanitarian front."

"It's not progress on the political front or progress on the humanitarian front. It's both or nothing," he said.

Delatte said France is calling for the immediate lifting of blockades on all besieged cities and immediate humanitarian access to all affected areas — and it wants a public meeting of the Security Council on this issue.

New Zealand's UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, who called Monday's council meeting with Spain, said "we recognize that a political solution is the answer to the wider problem, but humanitarian access cannot be held hostage to the politics."

Spain's UN Ambassador Roman Oyarzun Marchesi stressed that "besieging with the goal of starvation is a war crime."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Police treating blast at Manchester Arena as terrorist incident

    World News CTV News
    MANCHESTER, England - An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England, killing at least 19 people and injuring dozens in what police said Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack. Source
  • 'You could smell the burning': Witness accounts from Manchester

    World News CBC News
    Accounts of what happened Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K., are coming in following a deadly explosion that killed at least 19 people and injured more than 50.LIVE BLOG: The latest reports from ManchesterHere are some examples of stories from people who were at the concert: Source
  • Latest: Campaigning in U.K. election suspended after Manchester blast

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The Latest on an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, that authorities say killed several people. (all times local): 4:00 a.m. Campaigning has been suspended in Britain's national election after a deadly explosion at Manchester Arena. Source
  • Celebs react to Manchester explosion at Ariana Grande concert [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    Reaction to the fatal explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England: “My thoughts, prayers and tears for all those affected by the Manchester tragedy tonight. I’m sending all my love.” — pop star Taylor Swift, via Twitter Source
  • No rush for charges in 'Angel of Death' fatal prison attack

    World News CTV News
    TOLEDO, Ohio - Ohio authorities investigating the fatal prison beating of a serial killer dubbed the "Angel of Death" say they're in no hurry to file charges. A spokesman for the State Highway Patrol says that's because the suspect already is behind bars. Source
  • Police: Mom killed 2 kids to 'save them from the evils of the world'

    World News Toronto Sun
    DAYTON, Ohio — Police in Ohio say a woman told them she fatally shot her two children to save them from the world’s evils. The Dayton Daily News reports that Dayton police Detective Rod Roberts wrote in court documents that police interviewed Claudena Helton after the May 18 shooting. Source
  • Human rights watchdog condemns bombing of Thai hospital

    World News CTV News
    BANGKOK - A human rights watchdog condemned the bombing of a Thai hospital that wounded more than 20 people on the third anniversary of a military coup, saying the blast was an inexcusable crime. Investigators found remnants of batteries and wires at the scene of Monday's blast on the ground floor of Phramongkutklao Hospital, police said. Source
  • Police: Man kills neo-Nazi roommates over Islam disrespect

    World News Toronto Sun
    A Florida man told police he killed his two roommates because they were neo-Nazis who disrespected his recent conversion to Islam, and investigators found bomb-making materials and Nazi propaganda after he led them to the bodies. Devon Arthurs, 18, told police he had until recently shared his roommates’ neo-Nazi beliefs but that he converted to Islam, according to court documents and a statement the Tampa Police Department released Monday. Source
  • Corruption trial begins for former South Korean president

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - Former President Park Geun-hye was sombre in court Tuesday as she was accused of bribery and leaking government secrets at a criminal trial that could send South Korea's first female leader to prison for life if she is convicted. Source
  • Liberation of Mosul 'imminent,' ISIS days numbered: UN envoy

    World News CTV News
    The liberation of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul "is imminent" and the days of the Islamic State extremist group's self-declared caliphate "are numbered," the U.N. envoy for Iraq said Monday. But Jan Kubis told the Security Council that despite progress, fighting remains "a tremendous challenge" because IS fighters are increasingly using civilians as human shields in "a last-gasp effort that reveals little more than the inherent inhuman barbarity of the terrorists. Source