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Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, February 20, 2018

World

Small aid convoy reaches besieged Syrian zone: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – An aid convoy of nine trucks carrying food, health and nutrition supplies for 7,200 people reached the besieged rebel-held Damascus enclave of Eastern Ghouta on Wednesday, the United Nations and Syrian Arab Red Crescent said on Twitter.

The convoy is the first since late November to enter Eastern Ghouta, where almost 400,000 civilians are under siege, and follows months of pleading by the United Nations for the Assad government to grant access and agree to a ceasefire.

“First @UN and @SYRedCrescent inter-agency convoy this year crossed conflict lines to #Nashabieh in #EastGhouta to deliver food, health and nutrition supplies for 7,200 people in the besieged enclave,” the U.N. Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a tweet.

The relief items included some 1.8 tonnes of medical supplies from the World Health Organization (WHO), its representative in Syria Elizabeth Hoff told Reuters.

These were enough to provide 10,000 treatments, including antibiotics, dialysis sessions, insulin, life-saving medicines, trauma and pneumonia kits and hospitals beds, she said.

Hoff said that there was no news regarding the more than 700 patients who await medical evacuation from eastern Ghouta, for which the U.N. health agency has been seeking government approval for months.

Last week was one of the bloodiest in the nearly seven-year-old conflict as Syrian government forces, who are backed by Russia and Iran, bombarded two of the last major rebel areas of Syria – Eastern Ghouta and the northwestern province of Idlib.

(This story corrects figure in fourth paragraph to 1.8 tonnes not 1.8 million tonnes after WHO amended number)

(Reporting by Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay; editing by William Maclean)

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