UNITED NATIONS :United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on parties to the conflict in Syria to allow a humanitarian convoy to complete the delivery of supplies to Douma in eastern Ghouta planned for Thursday. The latest convoy by the UN and its partners could not complete the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to 27,500 people in Douma because of insecurity in the besieged enclave of eastern Ghouta, where the fighting reportedly killed more than 100 people on Monday alone. “Nearly half of the food carried on the convoy could therefore not be delivered. Moreover, a part of the medical and health supplies to be included for delivery was removed by the Syrian authorities,” UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric in a statement issued Tuesday, noting that the last time an inter-agency convoy reached eastern Ghouta this year was 14th February. “The Secretary-General reminds all parties of their obligation under international humanitarian law and human rights law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure at all times and of the basic responsibility to ensure the necessary protection of all humanitarian organisations, personnel, facilities and other relief assets,” Dujarric added. Eastern Ghouta, located near the capital, Damascus, has been under heavy bombardment, with more than 400,000 people experiencing shortages of food, fuel, medicines and drinking water. The secretary-general urged all parties to fully implement the newly adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2401, which demands an immediate cease-fire across Syria to allow humanitarian access and urgent medical evacuations. Syrian government troops intensified efforts in mid-February to retake Eastern Ghouta, the last major rebel stronghold in the country. Air strikes and fighting on the ground have caused a dire humanitarian situation, which Guterres has described as “hell on earth” for the 400,000 inhabitants.
Orignally published by APP