Assad meets aide amid fears of starvation in rebel-held areas

(CNN) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met his top aide on Tuesday, though it was not immediately clear whether they had discussed possible humanitarian corridors to open in rebel-held areas.

That idea was among several ideas raised by the United Nations about how to speed up the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in rebel-held towns in northern Syria.

A team from the United Nations was in Syria earlier this month to discuss humanitarian corridors with rebel and government officials.

The UAE state news agency WAM said Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the country’s foreign minister, met the Syrian minister, Ali Abdullah al-Madani, on Tuesday.

One of the topics of their talks was the plight of civilians in opposition-held regions in northern Syria where an estimated 40,000 people are in danger of starvation, the WAM report said.

Madani “expressed Syria’s readiness to help facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the areas, including cooperation between the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the United Nations, to prepare aid convoys, if deemed necessary,” WAM said.

UN humanitarian coordinator for Syria Lise Grande said earlier this month that some 22 aid convoys were seeking passage across the disputed rebel-held part of Idlib province.

The deliveries included 12 convoys of the United Nations’ World Food Program, as well as two free delivery convoys, which bring food aid to people in desperate need without needing to obtain authorizations from the Syrian government.

Madani told WAM that the door remained open for talks on the humanitarian issue.

“The idea of humanitarian corridors is common. We have our Syrian Arab Red Crescent in all areas. In terms of reconstruction, they are ready to reach that agreement with the governments,” Madani said.

“As for our stability and stability of Syria, we have this plan on reform to reduce the threat of ISIS.”

WAM said Madani assured his UAE counterpart of Syria’s “full commitment to the global fight against terrorism.”

Madani later toured the Saudi Red Crescent’s training institute, working on initiatives for aid convoys, the agency reported.

Leave a Comment