(Adds U.N. comment)
By Umit Bektas
NUSAYBIN, Turkey, March 20 Several U.N. aid
trucks crossed from Turkey into Syria for the first time on
Thursday, a Reuters witness said, a step relief officials hope
will pave the way for greater humanitarian access to area
hardest hit by the country's civil war.
The trucks, mostly from the U.N. World Food Programme,
crossed at the Nusaybin border post taking food supplies,
bedding and medicine to the ethnic Kurdish city of Qamishli in
Syria, according to officials.
"It is the first time in three years of this brutal conflict
that the U.N. has been able to carry aid across into Syria from
Turkey," Nigel Fisher, the United Nations' regional humanitarian
coordinator, said in a statement.
The convoy became possible after the U.N. Security Council
last month unanimously called on Syrian authorities and rebels
to allow prompt access for humanitarian supplies across front
lines and borders by the most direct routes to access an
estimated 9.3 million people who need help.
One Western aid official said on Wednesday the convoy was a
first step but warned it would not reach some of the areas worst
affected by the conflict, which has killed more than 140,000
(Additional reporting by Dasha Afanasieva in Gaziantep; Writing
by Jonny Hogg; Editing by Nick Tattersall/Mark Heinrich)