STATEMENT BY US SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA MICHAEL RATNEY ON HUMANITARIAN ACCESS ACHIEVED UNDER THE ISSG, 9 March 2016

US Department of State

Office of the Special Envoy for Syria

March 2016

Statement on Humanitarian Access Achieved under the ISSG

 

Humanitarian access has significantly improved for many of the hard-to-reach and besieged locations prioritized by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) Humanitarian Task Force for Phase One operations on February 12.  As of March 8, ten UN convoys comprising nearly 300 trucks in total have provided emergency humanitarian assistance to about 225,000 people—or more than 46 percent of the estimated 486,700 people in besieged areas throughout Syria.  These deliveries have included:

  • February 17: A114-truck convoy benefitting nearly 82,000 people reached Fu’ah, Kafrayya towns, Idlib Governorate, and Madaya, Moadamiyya, and Al Zabadani towns, Rif Damascus.
  • February 23-24:60 trucks carrying food, health, nutrition, and other relief supplies to benefit 32,000 people reached Moadamiyya and Kafr Batna sub-district in Rif Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta region.
  • February 29: A 32-truck convoy carrying 120 metric tons of health, medicine, and hygiene items reached Moadamiyya.  Also, UNRWA distributed hygiene kits to approximately 5,800 households in besieged and hard-to-reach locations near Damascus, including Babilla, Beit Sham, Yalda, and Yarmouk during the week of February 29.
  • March 2:A single truck carrying medicines removed from previous convoys reached Moadimiyya, but surgical items continue to be excluded.
  • March 2: A 18-truck convoy delivered 8,400 hygiene kits, 5,500 pieces of plastic sheeting, and 2,500 clothing items to the hard-to-reach area of Al Wa’er in the city of Homs, Homs Governorate.
  • March 4:A 25-truck convoy delivered a one-month supply of USAID/FFP-supplied food aid for 20,000 people to Ein Terma, Hazzeh, and Saqba towns in Kafra Batna sub-district.
  • March 7: A 21-truck convoy with food, health, and nutrition supplies for 17,000 people reached Beit Sawa, Jisreen, and Hammura towns in Kafra Batna sub-district.

In addition to these cross-line deliveries of humanitarian assistance, the United States continues to provide robust cross-border assistance from Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey under UNSCR 2258. Since the ISSG Humanitarian Task Force convened February 12 in Geneva, the United States has supported nearly 400 NGO trucks originating from Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey, which have the ability to reach nearly three million people with life-saving humanitarian assistance.  We have also supported the UN’s cross-border convoys from Jordan and Turkey, which have included over 500 trucks carrying emergency food supplies, relief items, as well as health and sanitation assistance.

But there is still much work to be done and more priority locations to access.  The United States, in coordination with the UN and the ISSG, is working to expand humanitarian access to all areas in need in Syria and to improve deliveries by ensuring medical supplies are not removed from shipments and can reach areas in need.  These deliveries are critical to enable a better environment in which credible and meaningful political negotiations can take place.