Syria: UN won’t break sieges with airdrops without permission from the government imposing those sieges

The New York Times reports: The United Nations on Thursday dimmed any prospect of immediate airdrops of aid to Syrian civilians trapped by the war, despite an expired deadline imposed on Syria’s government to allow unfettered humanitarian access by land.

United Nations officials said the World Food Program, its anti-hunger agency, had no imminent plans for airdrops even though the organization had known for more than two weeks about the deadline, which expired on Wednesday.

Moreover, the officials said, it would be necessary for security reasons for any airdrops to have the consent of the Syrian government.

They also emphasized what they called the logistical challenges and expense of airdropping aid into congested urban settings controlled by insurgents, where thousands of civilians lack access to food and medicine.

The deadline was imposed by the International Syria Support Group, a multinational effort that includes the United States and Russia — Syria’s most important ally — which was thought to have given the demand some coercive effect.

The group said on May 17 that if land access were not granted by President Bashar al-Assad, the World Food Program should “immediately carry out a program for air bridges and airdrops for all areas in need.” [Continue reading…]

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