Aid enters Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp
Aid enters Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp
News   /   Syrian Crisis

Food aid entered the besieged Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp in Syria today for the first time in four months, a Palestinian official and Syrian state media said.

The delivery of food comes after reports that dozens of people in the camp in southern Damascus have died of hunger and lack of medical care.

Palestine Liberation Organisation official "Anwar Abdul Hadi" told AFP that "a first batch of food aid entered successfully this morning and distribution to residents has begun".

Syrian state media also reported the delivery, citing a second Palestinian official.

Yarmuk has been largely under the control of opposition forces for months preventing humanitarian aids to enter the camp.

Chris Gunness, spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, told AFP that the agency had donated 200 food parcels to be delivered to the camp through an intermediary.

He was not able to confirm whether the parcels were delivered during the operation, which he described as a trial effort to get aid into the camp.

He stressed that "The Syrian authorities sought UNRWA's support", adding "UNRWA responded positively by donating the requested food parcels - not directly to the Palestinian factions - but through an intermediary".

"UNRWA laid down an express condition that the food parcels must be distributed exclusively to civilians in need of assistance and that no part of the aid would be handed over or distributed to, or utilised by fighters or by people who are not civilians", said Gunness , noting that "UNRWA received assurances that the food parcels would be distributed and used in a neutral manner for humanitarian purposes".

Food aid has not been delivered to the camp since September 2013.

The opposition observatory said on Saturday that 54 people have died in the camp since then from hunger or lack of medical care.

On Monday, UNRWA tried to send a six-truck convoy carrying food, medical supplies and polio vaccinations into Yarmuk but the mission was aborted after gunmen fired bullets near the convoy and a mortar shell exploded nearby.

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