Syria: Aid convoy turns back after being refused entry to besieged Daraya

12 May 2016

Joint statement by the ICRC and the United Nations in Syria.

Damascus, Syria (ICRC/UN) - A joint aid convoy of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the United Nations (UN) in Syria was refused entry to Daraya today, at the last government checkpoint, despite having obtained prior clearance by all parties that it could proceed.

"Daraya has been the site of relentless fighting for more than three and a half years, and we know the situation there is desperate," said Yacoub El Hillo, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria. "Civilians trapped here are in need of humanitarian aid. We were hoping that today's delivery of life-saving assistance would have been a first step and lead to more aid being allowed in. The UN continues to call for all parties to lift sieges on civilians in Syria."

The convoy was due to provide essential medical supplies to the town's health facility, distribute nutrition items for children and lead a vaccination campaign for children under 12, as well as distribute hygiene materials. This would have been the first ever aid delivery to the town, which has been under siege since November 2012.

"Communities in Daraya are in need of everything, and it's tragic that even the basics we were bringing today are being delayed unnecessarily. We must be able to provide aid impartially and safely," said Marianne Gasser, head of the ICRC in Syria. "There must be minimum conditions for independent humanitarian action in Syria. Today those conditions were not met. We urge the responsible parties to grant us this access immediately."

For further information, please contact:
Pawel Krzysiek, ICRC Damascus, +963 930 336 718
Krista Armstrong, ICRC Geneva, +41 79 217 3251 or +44 775 395 9569
Kristele Younes, UN OCHA Syria, +963 958 880 060

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