U.S., Russia agree on humanitarian aid, ceasefire for Syria

Secretary of State John Kerry said tonight that agreement has been reached in war-torn Syria for the delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid to civilians. Kerry stated “We have agreed to accelerate and expand the delivery of humanitarian aid beginning immediately.”

Kerry made the announcement at a meeting in Munich, Germany with Russian foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov and the International Syria Support Group, which consists of the U.S., Russia and multiple nations.

Kerry also announced a nationwide cessation of hostilities to take place within a week. The hope is for a political solution to follow, which would finally end the five-year civil war.

The fighting between the government and the opposition has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. There are over 13 million Syrians in need of humanitarian aid.

But there are an estimated half a million Syrians currently blocked from receiving food, medicine and other supplies. Civilians have been starving to death as the warring sides have prevented food convoys from reaching besieged areas.

A special task force would oversee the humanitarian access throughout Syria. In a statement also released tonight the International Syria Support Group said:

sustained delivery of assistance shall begin this week by air to Deir Ez Zour and simultaneously to Fouah, Kafrayah, the besieged areas of Rural Damascus, Madaya, Mouadhimiyeh, and Kafr Batna by land, and continue as long as humanitarian needs persist. Humanitarian access to these most urgent areas will be a first step toward full, sustained, and unimpeded access throughout the country.”

Five years of civil war has caused extreme food shortages. In recent weeks increased fighting and a blockade of Aleppo has caused massive suffering among Syrians.

Jakob Kern of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Syria said this week “The situation is quite volatile and fluid in northern Aleppo with families on the move seeking safety. We are extremely concerned as access and supply routes from the north to eastern Aleppo city and surrounding areas are now cut off but we are making every effort to get enough food in place for all those in need, bringing it in through the remaining open border crossing point from Turkey.”

The WFP and other agencies need quick access to Aleppo. But it was not clear if the Syrian government offensive, backed by Russia, would cease. Russian airstrikes have been supporting the Syrian regime.

A nationwide Syria ceasefire, if implemented, can allow humanitarians to bring life-saving aid to war victims in Aleppo and elsewhere. The ceasefire would not include ISIS and other terrorist groups which have benefited from the chaos caused by the conflict.

The Syrian civil war has brought their country to ruin. Only a ceasefire, peace agreements and humanitarian aid can save Syria.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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