War-torn Syria is desperate for supplies. One of the areas hit very hard is in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, the ancient city. The people there need relief very badly, and it is on its way in the form of a United Nations convoy. 46 trucks of supplies are headed to those who are suffering, BUT the government of Syria lightened the load a bit before allowing the convoy to roll all the way to the affected areas.
The World Health Organization said that during an obligatory routine inspection by Syrian national authorities, many of the supplies in the WHO shipment were rejected, including all trauma, surgical, dialysis and insulin supplies.
Marwa Awad, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program in Damascus who accompanied the convoy, also said many of the life-saving health supplies were not allowed to be loaded.
“Consequently, three of the 46 trucks being sent to Duma today are close to empty,” she told The Associated Press. “We hope to be able to take them inside on the next convoy Thursday.”
According to the report, that was roughly 70% of the humanitarian supplies the Syrian government denied its own people. This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened, either.
The government routinely removes lifesaving medical supplies from aid convoys, in a pattern of denying such aid to civilians living in opposition areas. U.N. officials have complained for years about such actions by the Syrian government.
The Syrian people in these parts of the greater Damascus area, Douma, Ghouta, etc., have been hit very hard by shelling and siege for months. Hundreds are killed in these areas every week. They really are in need of the aid the World Health Organization is sending their way, even if it is nowhere near enough, a contributing factor to a growing hatred of the international community in that part of Syria.
Douma-based media activist Ahmad Khansour said there is “tremendous reproach” against the U.N. and the international community in eastern Ghouta.
“It’s not possible that the (Syrian) regime is allowed to besiege a city for six years, and then we wait for them to approve an aid delivery,” he said.
Khansour said the aid covers 7 percent of the people in need.
“Can you imagine such a number? It means if we divide it evenly, each family gets 2 kilograms (about 4.5 pounds). It’s enough for one day. It’s unbelievable how shameful this is of the U.N.,” he added.
The government of Syria is denying its own people this relief, including the military which does not get a share.
This shipment is the first aid to go into Syria in quite some time. There is a promise of more. Time will tell if that promise is kept.