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URGENT: UN, Red Cross and Red Crescent turn back from Daraya; Two civilians killed waiting for aid
12 May, 2016
A father and son were killed by mortar shelling today as they waited for an international aid convoy at the entrance to the town of Daraya. Daraya Local Council confirmed that regime shelling took place shortly after a joint aid convoy between the UN, Red Cross and Red Crescent was denied entry into the town and turned back. The two civilians killed were a father and son. Another five people were injured.
Bissan Fakih of The Syria Campaign said:
“The Assad regime killed malnourished civilians waiting for aid. But there’s no question that the apathy and inaction of world leaders played a role in their deaths. Today’s killing of a father and son tells us everything we need to know about the international community’s failure to stand up against the Assad regime and protect Syrian civilians.”
“The father and son should never have been standing for hours waiting for food. With the denial of access today and the shelling of those gathered at the collection point, it is clear that the UN and its donors’ failures have put malnourished people in the firing line. Today is a dark day in the history of the UN.”
“The father and son should never have been standing for hours waiting for food. There are more than a dozen countries flying in Syrian airspace but not a single one of them has been prepared to airdrop aid to Daraya. With the denial of access today and the shelling of those gathered at the collection point, there has never been a stronger case for aidropping aid to all besieged areas in Syria. More dithering from Obama and others will mean more starvation and death.”
A breakdown of today’s triple failure:
- Daraya has not had a delivery of food or medicine for 1,301 days. Despite the fact that civilians are starving, there was no food in the convoy that drove to Daraya today. The convoy contained only medicine, vaccinations and baby milk. People in the town were furious that the convoy had come to Daraya without food.
- Once the convoy arrived at the regime checkpoint at the entrance of Daraya, the trucks were searched and the UN was informed that medicine would not be allowed in. UN staff informed people in the town that they were making phone calls to Russia and the UN to make sure the medicine would be allowed to go in after all. Hours later, people in the town were informed that the conovy had been denied entry and would turn back.
- Civilians were gathered at the entrance to the town since morning, waiting for the aid trucks to enter. While some went home later in the day upset at the wait and the lack of food on the convoy, others remained. As soon as the convoy left they became the targets of the Syrian regime’s shelling.
NOTES TO EDITORS
– The UN conducted a needs assessment trip on the 16th of April last month.
– Until February there was a smuggling route in Daraya to the adjacent neighbourhood of Moadamiyah but this was cut off in February leading to a rapid deterioration in conditions.
– Daraya was the site of some of the earliest protests against the Syrian government and remains of symbolic importance for the opposition movement. Daraya is run by a democratically elected council which controls the activities of the Free Syrian Army. Local residents think this, along with the town’s proximity to the capital and Mazzeh Military Airport, is the reason why Daraya is not being granted reprieve.
– 1.1 million people live under siege in Syria according to Siege Watch (www.siegewatch.org), with 47 out of 50 areas are besieged by the Syrian government.
– The Syria Campaign was established in 2014 as an independent advocacy group to focus on the protection of civilians in Syria. To maintain its impartiality, The Syria Campaign accepts no funding from governments or any group involved in the conflict www.thesyriacampaign.org