UN envoy 'regrets' failure to evacuate besieged Syrians
The Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria has not allowed medical evacuations of up to 500 people from several besieged towns, UN envoy said in Geneva Thursday.

In remarks made to the media following a UN task force meeting on humanitarian access, UN Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura said: "I cannot deny everyone in the meeting was disappointed and many of them are frustrated by the lack of new convoys reaching some besieged towns.

"We have not been able to reach Douma, Daraya, East Harasta…There was a possibility of medical evacuation up to 500 people in four towns, that has not happened and we regret it."

The head of the UN’s humanitarian efforts in Syria, Jan Egeland, said last week that up to 500 sick and wounded people and their families would be evacuated from the towns of Madaya, Zabadani, Foua and Kufreya.

Noting World Food Programme’s success in making three airdrops in Deir ez-Zor, de Mistura said: "The next airdrops will include not only food items but also medical items."

UN envoy said he was also concerned about not getting permission from the Syrian regime to deliver surgical items in Syria, which could have also helped children.

On Sunday, food packages from the World Food Programme were parachuted to the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor, where 200,000 civilians have been besieged by Daesh forces since March 2014.

"Vaccinations are expected to start on 24th of April," he said.

He said the possibility of airdrops to Daraya was also discussed in the UN meeting.

A new round of peace talks to resolve the ongoing Syria conflict began in Geneva Wednesday, with the UN envoy still unable to give a date for a face-to-face meeting between the warring opposition and regime delegations.

The Syrian regime delegation is expected to join Syria talks on Friday after the Assad regime requested to resume talks after parliamentary elections were held in Syria Wednesday.

In March, at the end of the last round of talks, de Mistura handed a document to the Syrian regime and opposition in Geneva, outlining basic principles for a political solution to the Syria crisis. He said that neither the regime delegation nor the opposition delegation had rejected this document.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to the UN.

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Last Modified: 2016-04-15 11:49:44
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