Syria: Aid delivered to rebel-held areas of Aleppo for the first time in 10 months

Published April 9th, 2014 - 11:19 GMT

Much needed aid and humanitarian supplies were delivered to rebel-held areas of Aleppo by the Syrian Red Crescent and the UN on Wednesday for the first time in 10 months. 

Red Crescent operations chief Khaled Erksoussi, speaking to Agence France Presse (AFP) said Wednesday; "Yesterday at noon we and a UNHCR team were able to bring in aid from the Jisr al-Haj crossing".

The Jisr al-Haj crossing lies in the dangerous territory between the regime-held western parts of Aleppo and the eastern, rebel-controlled areas of the northern city. 

"The operation took place after the implementation of a ceasefire between all the parties that was respected during the mission," Erksoussi told AFP.

Last June's delivery of aid entered from the northeast of Aleppo. Wednesday's delivery marks the first time the Jisr al-Haj crossing has been used .

The aid agencies delivered food, blankets and health kits to Aleppo's eastern neighborhoods via carts as the crossing is too small to accomodate vehicles, according to AFP.

The goods are to be stored in warehouses in the rebel-held areas and will be distributed in stages. 

The UN refugee agency UNHCR described Wednesday's mission as a "rare and risky operation," adding that its staff on the ground observed a "dire humanitarian situation inside eastern Aleppo," AFP reported.

UNHCR described "an acute shortage of food, water, medicine and basic supplies".

"UNHCR last accessed the area in June, 2013 and no humanitarian aid has reached the population there since then," it added, according to AFP.

Shortly after clashes and fighting broke out in mid-2012, Aleppo has been effectively divided into regime control in the west and rebel control in the east. 

In recent months, the Syrian government has launched a brutal offensive on the rebel-controlled areas of the city, in a campaign that has involved serial air raids using explosive-packed barrel bombs.

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