Aid & Development

U.N. Says Convoys Ready to Resume Aid Delivery in Syria

Syria

The United Nations declared on Wednesday it was gearing up to resume aid deliveries in Syria, suspended after a deadly attack on a relief convoy near Aleppo two days ago.

“The preparation for these convoys has now resumed and we are ready to deliver aid to besieged and hard-to-reach areas as soon as possible,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement issued in Geneva.

Moreover, Elizabeth Hoff, World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Syria, said it was preparing medical supplies for delivery to a Damascus suburb, subject to the normal security risk assessments. She told Reuters: “We are definitely preparing health items to go to Moadamiya as soon as possible. The convoy is being loaded today and scheduled for tomorrow.”

Alternatively, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault distributed a document on Wednesday to the U.N. Security Council which outlines a new mechanism to monitor a U.S.-Russia brokered truce in Syria that it wants major powers to discuss later this week.

“France’s belief is that only a collective mobilization will make it possible to achieve the goals (of this ceasefire). This truce is dead … so everything must be done to make it live again,” Ayrault told reporters after a United Nations Security Council briefing on Syria.

“I have proposed a new monitoring mechanism and distributed it to all members of the Security Council … for discussion.”

The ceasefire, which took effect last week, has so far followed the path of all previous peace efforts: abandoned by the warring parties even as diplomats far away debated it.

The mechanism would aim to restore confidence to guarantee the truce, according to the document seen by Reuters.

It would see an existing monitoring task force that has lacked teeth replaced by a panel of experts of countries in the International Syrian Contact Group (ISSG) that includes the United States, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Britain and France.

The panel, which would be rubber-stamped by the Security Council, would gather all material on violations of the truce from national intelligence agencies and civil society.

“In order to guarantee the independence of the panel, the presidency of the panel of experts would be confided to a representative of the United Nations General Secretariat,” the document said.

Under the sole responsibility of the president, a weekly report would be prepared for the ISSG on truce violations and a bi-monthly report for the Security Council.

The mechanism could also be used to monitor humanitarian access to civilian populations.
The ISSG is due to meet again on Friday after briefly meeting on Tuesday.

Image: Reuters

Article: Asharq al-Awasat