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22 Dec, 2016 11:28

US claims ‘no reports’ of Aleppo aid deliveries as Russia calls for intl relief efforts

US claims ‘no reports’ of Aleppo aid deliveries as Russia calls for intl relief efforts

The US State Department claims to be unaware of any aid deliveries going to Aleppo – instead laments “the devastation that’s being wrought on the people there.” The remark comes amid Russia’s ongoing humanitarian operation in the city.

“I’ve seen no reports of aid getting in. I mean, as of coming out here, I’m not aware of any aid still getting in to the people of Aleppo,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday at a daily press briefing. 

Going further, Kirby advised the audience to refer to mainstream news coverage showing “the devastation that’s being wrought on the people of Aleppo and the innocent men, women, and children that are still there, that still are trying to get out, and still haven’t received any humanitarian aid.”

Kirby’s statement echoed that of Elisabeth Trudeau, director of the department’s press office, who said on December 8 that “that the people of Aleppo have not received an aid delivery since July.” 

Last week, the Russian military reported delivering more than 35 tons of food and basic necessities to civilians in Aleppo. The massive humanitarian operation was launched on the back of the Syrian Army’s major offensive to defeat Islamists pinned down in several pockets inside the eastern part of the city.

The Russian Reconciliation Center said earlier in December that over 280 tons of humanitarian supplies arrived in Syria by sea. The cargo included food and basic necessities for Syrian civilians.

Aid supplies were then loaded onto cargo trucks and taken to refugee centers where medical treatment and basic necessities are being distributed round the clock, the Center’s representative told TASS, adding that 150 kitchens also provide hot meals for displaced persons.

The Syrian and Russian militaries set up a number of so-called ‘humanitarian corridors,’ allowing civilians to leave eastern Aleppo in a safe and coordinated way.

The Russian Reconciliation Center launched a massive evacuation, and according to Russian Defense Ministry estimates, more than 100,000 civilians made use of the escape routes. Evacuation was also organized for militants and their families.

Moscow has for months been asking for western aid to be delivered to government- and militant-held areas of Aleppo. Last Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry again called on the UN to swiftly join forces to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.

“We are urging relevant UN humanitarian structures to actively and immediately engage in the provision of the much-needed humanitarian assistance to Syrians, in particular, the residents of Aleppo, liberated from gangs of terrorists and extremists,” it said a statement.

Meanwhile, the UK and US defense ministers have alleged that Russia is hampering humanitarian action.

Top diplomats in London, however, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, ruled out staging their own relief efforts as British planes dropping aid supplies in Syria would be vulnerable to missile attacks from the ground.