By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA, Oct 13 – The Syrian government has partially approved a United Nations aid plan for October but not its request to deliver urgently needed supplies to the rebel-held part of Aleppo, diplomats and a U.N. official said on Thursday.
Damascus has given a green light for convoys to 25 of 29 besieged and hard-to-reach areas across Syria, they said, but not to eastern Aleppo and three parts of the Rural Damascus province.
Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, deputy U.N. Special Envoy for Syria, confirmed receipt of the approvals after a weekly meeting of the humanitarian task force, composed of major and regional powers. He gave no details.
“Of course, the approval of the plan is not sufficient, you know there are other steps that need to be taken so that deliveries can be made,” Ramzy told reporters. “And we call upon all parties to help in ensuring that these steps are taken as soon as possible so the U.N. will be able to deliver on its October plan as soon as possible.”
The situation for 275,000 people trapped in eastern Aleppo, encircled by government and allied forces, remains “dire”, he said. He noted, however, that the water supply had been partially restored.
The U.N. has tried for weeks to evacuate the wounded and chronically sick from eastern Aleppo, but a ceasefire is required to do so, Ramzy said.
“Capacity to treat emergency cases is minimal, and that is why we are working on a plan for medical evacuations,” he said. “I think more than 200 are in a critical situation but I also heard the figure of 400 children that need to be evacuated.”
Ramzy’s boss, U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, will join foreign ministers – including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia’s Sergei Lavrov – meeting to discuss Syria in Lausanne on Saturday, Ramzy said.
He declined to give details on what their focus would be.
The U.N. had requested access for convoys carrying food and medical supplies in September, expecting approval by Sept. 30 for the month of October.