UN relief convoys have managed to reach five war-torn towns in Syria delivering urgently required aid to the locals, the office of the UN special envoy for the country announced. A meeting to discuss humanitarian access issues in the conflict-torn country will also be held in Geneva on 18 February.
In a press release, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Syria, Yacoub el-Hillo said, "The convoys contained life-saving aid including food, medical supplies and equipment, vaccines, water and sanitation items for almost 100,000 people in need of aid."
Relief material in 100 trucks made their way from Damascus to the troubled regions as part of the UN's special task force efforts. Jan Egeland, senior adviser to UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura commended the "brave humanitarian workers" who were able to deliver the truckloads. "This is hopefully the beginning of the end of Syrian civilians' suffering," he added, referring to the distributions as a "test for the capability of the UN to deliver humanitarian assistance and for all parties on the ground to allow this to take place, as per the decisions reached last week in Munich."
According to the UN, the meeting at its headquarters in Geneva is being held to "further take stock of the status of humanitarian access to besieged areas with an initial focus on the locations referred to in the statement of the International Syria Support Group last week."
However, the strong presence of the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria along with the ongoing civil war has made it difficult for aid to be delivered to areas that need it most and has led to numerous delays. The Syria Campaign, a global advocacy group based in Britain, finds the UN's efforts as falling short.
"The reality is the UN is deeply complicit in the Syrian regime's tactic of besieging civilians," Anna Nolan, the group's director said. "The little aid that goes in is a result of public pressure, not because of UN action."
While the deliveries by the relief convoys are being recognised by the UN as a positive move forward, US and Russian representatives working towards organising a Syria ceasefire, which was signed in Munich, have been forced to push back their meetings, which will inadvertently delay the 19 February ceasefire.