Shelling putting Ghouta aid delivery at risk: UN

Russian soldiers stand beside an aid truck waiting at the Al-Wafideen checkpoint on March 8, 2018 to pass from Syrian government-held territory into the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta
AFP

Beirut (AFP) – Renewed shelling of Eastern Ghouta is putting a humanitarian aid convoy that entered the besieged rebel enclave on Friday at risk, the United Nations said.

A convoy of trucks carrying food aid from the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent entered Eastern Ghouta around two hours earlier.

“Shelling in proximity of Douma, east Ghouta today, is putting the UN/ICRC/SARC convoy at risk, despite assurances of safety from parties including the Russian Federation,” the UN humanitarian coordinator in Syria, Ali al-Zaatari, said in a statement.

Friday’s convoy was delivering aid that could not be offloaded on Monday, when relief was allowed in for the first time since the Syrian regime and its allies launched a blistering assault on the enclave on February 18.

It was interrupted by bombardment and fighting in the area, depriving thousands of civilians of desperately needed aid.

“The UN calls for a cessation of hostilities in the area and for calm throughout Syria so that aid can be safely delivered to people in need,” Zaatari said.

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