Twenty trucks are not being allowed to enter the beseiged city in spite of ceasefire agreement, says United nations organization envoy
The first serious obstacle since a ceasefire in Syria came into impact on Monday has emerged after the UN said the regime was not giving permission to allow 20 UN aid trucks into eastern Aleppo.
UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura said the ceasefire agreement signed last week clearly stated that the government should simply be notified of aid entering the city.
As many as 20 trucks are ready to move and the agreed procedure is that the government is given details of the content of the trucks. Syrian government permission or inspections by its officials should not be required.
De Mistura said the trucks are not moving and connoted the Syrian government was in breach of the agreement by refusing to allow unhindered access. We need to do more homework, said de Mistura.
He recommended the eastern Aleppo council to drop any preconditions for the delivery of the aid. Nonetheless, he claimed the first 24 hours of the ceasefire had assured a significant drop in violence. Calm has prevailed, he said.
His statements will be taken as a coded warn to the Russians to use their influence with the Syrian government to allow the aid trucks into eastern Aleppo on the terms concurred last week after marathon the discussions between Russia and the US in Geneva.
De Mistura insisted the process for eastern Aleppo was different from the rest of Syria where formal letters of authorisation are required before aid can be delivered. For months, the UN has faced a daily battle to wrest such permissions from the governmental forces in a bid to lift the sieges of Syrian townships.
In a statement, the Syrian government cautioned it would not let Turkish humanitarian aid into the besieged city of Aleppo without its permission.
At the same time, opposition groups objected to the Russian presence along the Castello Road, the main supply road into the divided city, where 250,000 people are desperate for food and ga. Under the agreement, the Russians are supposed to take over some of the checkpoints on the Castello Road.
De Mistura said the council should drop its preconditions for aid delivery.
Earlier, Russia claimed it was abiding by the ceasefire along with the Syrian government, but said the US government was not acting to rein in its client groups, quoting 23 different violations of the terms of the ceasefire.
Syrian government troops have wholly stopped firing, with the exception of areas where Islamic State and Al-Nusra fighters are active, said senior Russian military officer Viktor Poznikhir in a televised briefing.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for armed units of the moderate opposition controlled by the US. After the start of the cessation of hostilities by this morning, 23 instances of firing on residential areas and government postures were registered.
The ceasefire agreement for Syria, hammered out between Moscow and Washington, came into force on Monday evening. If it holds for seven days, it is designed to lead to unprecedented joint operations by Russia and the US against the twin targets of Islamic State and the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front. The Syrian government us air force would be grounded and debarred from attacking Al-Nusra, the American government insists.
As many as 20 opposition groups have said they will not accept the ceasefire, claiming there is no clear mechanism for punishing violates. Some are wary of breaking with the former al-Nusra group.
But Anas al-Abdah, the president of the Syrian National Coalition, speaking in London, said he believed the ceasefire would be accepted by most rebel groups.
He said: I guess all our troops will go away from Nusra especially in seven days day because then Russia and the US[ is likely to be] co-operating and Nusra becomes a target like Isis. So our advice to all the troops on the ground is that they make sure they stay away from Nusra as soon as possible.
In broadcasted briefings from various locations around war-torn Syria, Russian military observers said that rebel violations had taken place in the provinces around Aleppo, Latakia, Damascus, Hama, Idlib and Daraa.
A Russian military officer said that new violationshad also resulted around the ravaged city of Aleppo during the day.
As the broadcasted briefing cut to a military monitor by the key Castello Road into Aleppo, which has been under Syria regime control, gunfire broke out and the Russian officer dived for cover.
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