18 February 2016
The second meeting of the Task Force on Humanitarian Access in Syria will take place tomorrow at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The meeting will be co-chaired by the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, and Mr. Jan Egeland, Senior Advisor to the Special Envoy, and will be attended by representatives of the ISSG members. The purpose of this second meeting is 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 (ISSG) last week.
Humanitarian access to these areas will be a first step towards full, sustained, and unimpeded access throughout the country, as demanded by Security Council resolutions, the ISSG and international humanitarian law.
“Humanitarian delivery is not only important, it is essential,” Special Envoy de Mistura said. “There are now more than 400,000 people living in areas besieged by the Government, by the opposition and by Daesh.”
The Special Envoy referred to the U.N. humanitarian mission to some besieged locations that started today 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.”
The U.N.'s resident and humanitarian coordinator in Syria, Mr. Yacoub el-Hillo said, "Today, we reached five besieged towns in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. 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. "
Praising the courage of dedicated staff on the ground, Mr. Egeland said that “brave humanitarian workers were able to deliver today 100 truckloads of life-saving aid to besieged areas in Syria. This is hopefully the beginning of the end of Syrian civilians’ suffering..”
Geneva (17 February 2016)