UN says aid convoys face limited access in Syria, despite ceasefire

Orient Net | 2017-01-06 16:10 Damascuss

UN says aid convoys face limited access in Syria, despite ceasefire
UN humanitarian adviser for Syria Jan Egeland voiced disappointment on Thursday (January 5) that despite an agreed ceasefire "largely holding", aid convoys have been denied access to five of 21 locations this month, including places in rural Damascus, Homs and Hama.

Turkey and Russia brokered the Dec. 30 cessation of hostilities and have pledged to work to open up access for aid agencies to deliver supplies across Syria, Egeland said in Geneva.

"Five out of 21 locations were denied, and this is in rural Damascus mostly, where there is a lot of fighting, but also in Homs and in Hama. So, it’s not over. Even though the cessation of hostilities is largely holding in large parts of the country, there are tremendous dramas for the civilian population still, and we are denied access still in too many places," Egeland said.

He also warned of water shortages in Damascus that could risk the spread of disease.

"We reckon it to be 5.5 million civilians now being affected by the water shortages, meaning that they would not have any tap water anymore, most of them...This has been the reality now for two weeks. It cannot continue like this," Egeland said.

He told reporters that springs, pipelines and pumping stations have been affected and there is possible oil pollution, raising questions of sabotage.

"To sabotage and deny water is of course a war crime, because it is civilians who drink it and civilians who will be affected by water-borne diseases and other, if it’s not restored," Egeland said.

Assad regime and its allied Shiite mercenaries have been bombing Wadi Barada in Damascus western countryside where the main source of drinking water is located, Ein al-Fijeh spring.