Damascus opens 2 checkpoints to deliver aid to non-controlled areas
According to the UN Secretary-General, President al-Assad has agreed to grant access to UN humanitarian delivery to militant-held areas in northwest Syria.
Saraqeb and Abu Azeydin checkpoints in northern Syria have been established to assist earthquake victims in Syria who reside in areas not controlled by Damascus, according to Maj. Gen. Oleg Egorov, deputy head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria.
"In accordance with the instructions of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Serakab and Abu Azeydin checkpoints were unilaterally opened to provide assistance to residents affected by the earthquake in the territory not controlled by the Syrian authorities. Convoys with humanitarian cargo, including food, means of heating, and tents for people left homeless, were formed," Egorov said at a briefing.
Egorov also stated that providing help to earthquake victims was challenging owing to a lack of security assurances in territory held by militants. The truck is set to go for the catastrophe zones, escorted by members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Committee.
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres affirmed on Monday that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has agreed to allow UN humanitarian delivery to militant-held northwest Syria via two extra border crossings from Turkey.
"Al-Assad agreed to open the Bab Al-Salam and Al Ra'ee crossings," Guterres said in a statement after meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
"As the toll of the Feb. 6 earthquake continues to mount, delivering food, health, nutrition, protection, shelter, winter supplies, and other life-saving supplies to all the millions of people affected is of the utmost urgency," said Guterres.
"Opening these crossing points - along with facilitating humanitarian access, accelerating visa approvals, and easing travel between hubs - will allow more aid to go in, faster," he added.
Syria's representative to the United Nations, Bassam Sabbagh said today following a UNSC meeting that Damascus accepted the entry of aid from all borders for 3 months.
Sabbagh revealed that the decision came after the agreement between President al-Assad and Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths, adding that Northern Syria is an integral part of the Syrian state and the people there are Syrian people.
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The Syrian authorities warned of damaged buildings that could be unstable and prone to collapse in the aftermath of the Syria earthquake whose death toll, so far, rests at 4,500 individuals. Despite the expectations that this number will rise in the coming days as hope for finding survivors underneath the rubble diminished, some people were found, alive, today, after having survived 184 hours beneath the rubble.