BEIRUT — A senior humanitarian official at the United Nations says the first convoy carrying desperately needed aid supplies via Turkey is set to cross the border into Syria.
UN regional Humanitarian Coordinator Nigel Fisher says trucks loaded with food supplies, blankets, mattresses, family kits and medical supplies bound for the Syrian city of Qamishli are leaving the Turkish border crossing at Nusaybin on Thursday.
Fisher said in a statement that the delivery will mark the first time in three years that the UN has been able to deliver aid to Syria from via Turkey.
Previously, the Syrian government has refused to allow UN aid in through Turkey, which is a staunch supporter of the rebellion against Assad.
The aid delivery comes almost a month after the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded immediate access everywhere in Syria to deliver humanitarian aid to millions of people in need. The resolution doesn’t threaten sanctions, but it does express the council’s intention to take “further steps” if the resolution isn’t implemented.
Despite the cross-border delivery, questions linger about the government’s willingness to allow in aid to all areas in need. The first shipment will be limited to the Hassakeh governorate in the northeast, which is primarily controlled by Kurdish militias although the government retains some security outposts.
Meanwhile, the joint mission by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to rid Syria of it chemical weapons said another batch of chemical agents was removed from the country Thursday, raising the total amount taken out of the country to nearly 50 percent.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.