BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria’s government said on Saturday it was doing everything necessary for the arrival of aid to those in need in all parts of the country, rebutting comments by top United Nations officials that Damascus was hindering access.
It added that it had done all that was required of it to facilitate the arrival of aid to eastern Aleppo but that it would not provide guarantees regarding the safety of convoys while rebels still fired upon the road to the city.
Two convoys of aid for Aleppo have been waiting at the Turkish border for days. The U.N. has said both sides in the war are to blame for the delay of aid to Aleppo, where neither has yet withdrawn from the Castello Road into the city.
However, senior U.N. officials have accused the government of not providing letters to allow convoys to reach besieged areas in Syria.
“In order to actually initiate the actual movement of these convoys we need the facilitation letters. They have not come,” U.N. humanitarian affairs spokesman Jens Laerke said in Geneva this week. “It’s highly frustrating.”
Rebels have denied firing onto the Castello Road and have said that they will pull back from it as soon as they see the Syrian army doing so, something they say has not yet happened.
The provision of aid, particularly to Aleppo, is a key part of a ceasefire deal brokered by the United States and Russia that took hold on Monday, the most important move in months toward ending the country’s five-year-old civil war.
Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Dominic Evans