The United Nations said on Tuesday that Syria has agreed to allow humanitarian access to seven besieged areas. UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said after speaking to Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem that UN would test the government commitment towards the issue but gave no further details.
The meeting between the Syrian foreign minister and de Mistura in Damascus came at a time when the government forces are rapidly advancing north with the help of Russian airstrikes, and an internationally approved ceasefire is about to take effect to stop the conflict.
According to de Mistura, they discussed the humanitarian access to seven areas besieged in the five-year war.
“It is clear it is the duty of the government of Syria to want to reach every Syrian person wherever they are and allow the UN to bring humanitarian aid,” Al Jazeera quoted de Mistura as saying in a statement. “Tomorrow we test this.”
UN spokesman Farhan Haq said that convoys are being prepared to be deployed as soon as possible.
De Mistura said that the Syrian government has an obligation to allow access to anyone who needs it and added that the UN would test that duty on Wednesday.
The seven areas which have been allowed access are those which the 17-member International Syria Support Group deduced to be in most dire need of relief.
“Humanitarian agencies and partners are preparing convoys for these areas to depart as soon as possible in the coming days,” the BBC quoted Haq as saying.
The ceasefire, which is expected to be implemented later this week, doesn’t include jihadist groups. But, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said that it would be difficult to implement a truce and that all parties would not stop using weapons.
Turkey criticised Russia for bombing schools and hospitals in Syria which resulted in the deaths of up to 50 people.