UN says awaiting Syria approval to reach two besieged areas

The UN\'s World Food Programme has been conducting humanitarian airdrops over the area, with consent from Damascus.

Published: 10th June 2016 05:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th June 2016 05:03 PM   |  A+A-


GENEVA: The United Nations said Friday it was still awaiting approval from Damascus to reach two besieged areas in Syria, correcting information provided by its top envoy to the war-torn country.

"The UN is able to deliver to 17 out of 19 besieged areas," Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN's humanitarian office (OCHA), told AFP.

Syria's government has so far withheld written approval for Al Wa'er in Homs and Zabadani in rural Damascus, the UN said, clarifying information given Thursday by envoy Staffan de Mistura, who mistakenly told reporters that approval for all 19 areas had been granted.

De Mistura made the comments after the weekly meeting of the Syria humanitarian taskforce, which is co-chaired by the United States and Russia and has been trying to boost aid access to millions of civilians in need.

The UN subsequently made clear that out of the 19 besieged areas in Syria it has requested permission from the Damascus regime to deliver aid to 17 places.

One area where permission has not been sought is Deir Ezzor, which is besieged by the Islamic State group (IS).

The UN's World Food Programme has been conducting humanitarian airdrops over the area, with consent from Damascus.

The second is Yarmuk, where the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) already has partial access.

De Mistura's office did not immediately respond to an AFP request seeking clarification on the confusion surrounding the approvals announced on Thursday.

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