Ceasefire is a must to ensure aid supplies

Damascus and other stakeholders in the conflict should take a holistic look at the situation, as more than half-a-million people live in besieged areas.



The deal reached in Munich to provide unconditional access to aid convoys is up for a test. Reports say trucks carrying essential supplies and medicines have left Damascus for besieged towns in the north. This is a promising development provided the succour reaches the needy in real time. The consignment this time is also headed for the rebel-held areas, including Madaya, Zabadani and Muadhamiya. It is, however, not known whether Aleppo and other adjoining areas will also receive aid supplies or not. The ongoing clashes in the north between Syrian security forces and the Kurdish militia have dimmed hopes for a truce, which was agreed last week in Germany. But ground realities suggest that cessation of hostilities is nowhere on the agenda as the rebels and the regime are in pitched battles to regain as much territory as possible. The dispatch of food supplies in such a tense environment is like one step forward and two steps back.
Damascus and other stakeholders in the conflict should take a holistic look at the situation, as more than half-a-million people live in besieged areas. Denying them basic amenities of life would be catastrophic. The relief agencies should also come up with a plan of action to secure the return of displaced people, who had to abandon their homes during the new phase of fighting in Aleppo in the midst of Russian air strikes. More than 35,000 people are reportedly stranded on the Turkish border. UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura stated that, "it is the duty of the government of Syria to reach every Syrian person, wherever they are, and allow the UN to bring humanitarian aid." That won't be possible until a permanent ceasefire is reached and warring parties get talking.


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