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Break in suffering for 27,000 as aid convoy arrives in siege suburb

Getting
through:
UN aid
convoy
enters
eastern
Ghouta
during a
break in
fighting
PICTURES:
GETTY/AFP

A 46-TRUCK convoy began entering the besieged eastern suburbs of Damascus yesterday to bring food and basic medicines to desperate Syrian citizens.

The delivery, organised by the United Nations and aid agencies, is the first to reach Douma — the largest town in eastern Ghouta — since November.

Medicines: Supplies are handed to civilians

The convoy was carrying 5,500 food and flour bags, enough for 27,500 people, in addition to medical and surgical supplies.

‘This is a first positive step to lessen the suffering of the civilians in the area,’ said Ingy Sedky, of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Damascus.

Meal ticket: Red Crescent trucks carrying food and flour bags arrive

‘But a one-time aid delivery will never be enough. Repeated and continuous access by humanitarian organisations is a must,’ she added.

However, the UN’s humanitarian office said in a Twitter posting that many life-saving goods were not allowed to be loaded by Syrian authorities. These included all trauma, surgical and dialysis kits as well as insulin.

Lack of consensus among the warring parties, along with the limited window of a daily, five-hour Russian-ordered humanitarian pause, had also made delivery ‘largely impossible’, officials added.

Relief: People gather for first delivery for months

Eastern Ghouta, home to some 400,000 people, has been under a crippling siege and daily bombardment for months. More than 600 civilians have been killed in the last two weeks alone.

Syria claimed yesterday it had seized about a third of the total area held by different armed groups. It has vowed to continue with the military offensive.