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UN Ends Border Ban to Bring Food to Millions of Desperate Syrians

UN Ends Border Ban to Bring Food to Millions of Desperate Syrians

(AFP) Aid agencies said Tuesday they were ready to truck desperately-needed supplies to 2.9 million more Syrians after the UN Security Council finally passed a resolution backing cross-border convoys.

The United Nations estimates that 10.8 million people — or half the pre-war population — need aid in Syria, many in areas cut off by fighting.

It was “too early to say” when the first aid convoys might be able to leave Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, Pitt said.

Since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011, the international community has been split over how to help the embattled population.

The issue has been caught up in wrangling over Syrian sovereignty.

The regime has balked at the idea of aid coming across borders in zones controlled by rebels — notably in the north, near Turkey — seeing it as tantamount to UN recognition and as a means to supply its opponents.

As a result, agencies have had to first bring aid to warehouses in Syria, before convoys fan out across the country.

The UN Security Council had long been deadlocked over Syria, with the West facing off against Damascus’s key international ally Russia.

Under the terms of the cross-border aid resolution, which is valid for six months and expected to be renewed, trucks will be subject to UN controls to ensure that they are carrying only humanitarian supplies.

The resolution also calls on the warring sides to allow unhindered access and guarantee security.

Both sides have been accused of using aid as a weapon and of trying to starve out areas held by their adversaries.

Fighting has also made it too dangerous for convoys to reach some areas regularly, with some aid workers paying with their lives.

Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the World Food Programme, said her agency was ready to go.

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