Moscow blasts jihadists’ ‘inhuman efforts’ to disrupt Aleppo aid deliveries

© Mikhail Alaeddin
Russia has condemned jihadists’ attempt to disrupt a vital UN humanitarian aid mission in Aleppo and urged western “sponsors” of armed extremist groups to exert influence over the responsible opposition militants on the ground.

Condemning radical Syrian opposition members’ “inhuman efforts” to disrupt UN aid deliveries in Aleppo, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, called the jihadists’ latest move an attempt to “exploit” deplorable humanitarian conditions to achieve their “own destructive goals.”

The situation in Aleppo continues to deteriorate, and last week the UN outlined core elements of an Aleppo emergency response plan. The first element focused on sending convoys of aid to supply food to 80,000 people in eastern Aleppo. The delivery of the aid was routed via the Castello Road, which had been recognized as the safest and most direct route. The second measure focused on the simultaneous distribution of aid to western Aleppo, also besieged by terrorists. 

However on Monday the Russian foreign ministry revealed that jihadists disrupted the deliveries to eastern Aleppo at the last minute despite having a prior agreement in place.

“At the last moment these jihadist members of the opposition began to add completely unacceptable and unrealistic conditions to their prior consent to allow a convoy of trucks with food for civilians to pass,” Zakharova said in a statement.

The incident which jeopardized the lives of thousands was not covered in the media, the spokeswoman said, as western outlets refused to report on the opposition militants’ misdeeds.

“Regrettably, there is nothing surprising about how this is being reported in the West and a number of regional capitals that are so keen to exploit the tragic humanitarian situation in Syria,” the statement read.

“There is no mention of the fact that the UN efforts in Aleppo are being subverted by militants who, secure in their impunity, shamelessly blackmailed the members of the UN humanitarian mission by refusing to ensure the safety of the cargo on Castello Road.”

Zakharova stressed that “sponsors and patrons” of the so-called moderate rebels, have “failed to do their ‘homework’”, by encouraging jihadist elements and not exerting their influence to control the groups on the ground.

“They are in effect allowing the entire population of Aleppo to be held hostage to unseemly political games, and are tacitly approving the brazen demands of the militants in what can be interpreted as an attempt to aid extremists and terrorists,” the statement said.

To alleviate suffering Moscow has once again reaffirmed its commitment to the third element of the UN emergency response plan, to the use a 48-hour pause to deliver aid to accessible districts of Aleppo.

Moscow urged the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), which is co-chaired by Russia and the United States and comprises the UN, the Arab League, the European Union and 16 other countries to “finally bring to heel their impudent clients to prevent the complete failure of UN humanitarian efforts in Aleppo.”

On Monday Aleppo University Hospital confirmed its reception of Russian aid, which included emergency medical supplies and a shipment of antibiotics. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense reported that Jabhat Al Nusra and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists continue “to prevent the final establishment of the cessation of hostilities” in Aleppo. A number of neighborhoods in the city are still being shelled. Yet, despite the onslaught, those civilians lucky enough to escape jihadists-controlled parts of the city are being greeted at reception centers that offer hot meals and basic necessities.