UN appeals for passage of Aleppo aid in Syria
Sept.15, Aleppo: The UN has called on the Syrian government to "immediately" allow life-saving aid into eastern Aleppo, where about 300,000 people are living under siege.
Speaking in Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday, Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy, said there were 20 aid lorries ready to cross the border from Turkey into Syria, and make it to Aleppo city where a cessation of hostilities was holding "by and large".
"The Syrian government promised permits for UN aid convoys before the ceasefire ... they have not been received," de Mistura said. "This is something that is required to happen immediately."
Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council and special adviser to the UN envoy, decried the ineffectiveness of all parties in taking advantage of the truce, saying that aid could reach Aleppo by Friday.
Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Gaziantep on the Turkish side of the Syria-Turkey border, said while progress was being made, it could take several days for aid to reach the city.
"One of the key issues is access, and one of the main arteries into Aleppo is Castello Road. It needs to become a demilitarised zone before any of that can happen," she said.
"Syrian government troops and opposition forces would need to withdraw up to 3km from the road with their heavy weapons. The deal is that both want to do this at the same time because there is no trust."
As the only supply route into the embattled part of Syria's largest city, Castello Road plays a crucial role in ensuring that residents of Aleppo, who are largely dependent on outside aid, can receive food, medical items and other essentials.
Twenty lorries loaded with much-needed food and other aid have been awaiting clearance at the Turkish border since Wednesday for the journey to Aleppo.
"I've urged the Russian government to make sure that they exercise influence on the Syrian government, and also the American side to make sure that Syrian armed groups, they also fully cooperate," Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, said on Wednesday.
The Oslo Times International News Network