Turkey ready providing humanitarian access to Afrin: UN
Turkey emphasized its willingness to facilitate humanitarian access in Afrin, the UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said Wednesday.
"The Turkish authorities have emphasized to us their willingness to facilitate humanitarian access," Lowcock said informing the UN Security Council (UNSC) about the humanitarian developments in Syria. "We would like to see aid convoys run from Damascus but that has not thus far been agreed on the Syrian side."
Additionally, he said that civilians who are willing to flee Afrin continue to be stopped at exit points and prevented to access safer areas by PYD/PKK terrorists, who the civilians described as "local authorities".
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012, when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU, having waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, killing nearly 40,000 people.
Lowcock also pointed out that the UN is ready to provide humanitarian aid to 10 different areas which are all under siege however, access to these areas are still prohibited despite the UNSC's humanitarian ceasefire resolution.
Turning to the situation of Eastern Ghouta, he noted that the humanitarian situation on the ground has not improved in any way, no medical evacuation has taken place, and that the civilians can not leave the region.
"More bombing. More fighting. More death. More destruction. More maiming of women and children. More hunger. More misery. More, in other words, of the same," Lowcock responded to a question what has happened in the last few days, if there has been no humanitarian access since the resolution adopted Saturday.
Slamming the Russia's decision which requires only five-hours ceasefire for a day in eastern Ghouta, he also said it is impossible to bring a humanitarian convoy and distribute the aid packages in five hours.
The UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman also emphasized that the international community has failed to end the war that will go into the eighth year in two weeks.The suburb has been under siege for the last five years and humanitarian access to the area, which is home to 400,000 people, has been completely cut off.
In the past eight months, forces of the Assad regime have intensified their siege of Eastern Ghouta, making it nearly impossible for food or medicine to get into the district and leaving thousands of patients in need of treatment.
According to the White Helmets civil defense agency, regime attacks have killed 389 people in Eastern Ghouta in the past six days.
Syria has been locked in a devastating conflict since early 2011 when the regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
According to UN officials, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict to date.