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A first relief convoy for Eastern Ghouta… It is not enough, says the ICRC

(Credit: ICRC)

(B2) After repeated attempts to obtain humanitarian access to Eastern Ghouta in recent weeks, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was finally able to enter the town of Douma early today Monday (March 5), as part of a humanitarian convoy organized jointly with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the United Nations, announced the humanitarian organization in a press release sent to B2.

A convoy of 46 trucks

The 46-truck convoy carried 5 food parcels for a month for more than 500 people (one parcel per family of five), as well as vital medical and surgical supplies such as dressing materials. " This convoy is a positive first step which will immediately alleviate the suffering of some of the civilians in the Eastern Ghouta region. But one convoy, no matter how large, will never be enough given the dire conditions and shortages the population faces. Continued humanitarian access must imperatively be guaranteed and more authorizations must be granted in the days and weeks to come insists Robert Mardini, ICRC director for the Near and Middle East.

An unacceptable situation

The ICRC had been unable to provide humanitarian aid in Eastern Ghouta since November 12 (read: The situation in Eastern Ghouta worries NGOs). " In recent weeks, many residents of Eastern Ghouta have died in intense fighting or lack of access to medical care. Seeking shelter from the continued shelling, families spent days and nights hiding in underground shelters, with little to eat. Syrian Arab Red Crescent hospitals, homes and facilities damaged and continue to be targeted ". " This situation is unacceptable » specifies the organization.

The minimum rules of the law of war flouted

The city of Damascus is not spared. " Many neighborhoods have come under mortar fire in recent weeks, killing and injuring civilians. "The ICRC asked" repeatedly to all actors in Syria to respect the law of war, which is currently ignored ". And the organization is launching a new appeal, imploring everyone to have a minimum of humanity. “ We once again urge the parties to the conflict to take all possible precautions to spare and protect civilians ».

(updated 6.3) The representative in Syria of the UN High Commission for Refugees said Monday evening that the convoy had to withdraw after nine hours of deliveries made “ in the middle of the bombardments », According to AFP. A second convoy is planned for Thursday. In total, the UN received the necessary authorizations to distribute aid for “ 70.000 people ».



Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).