US urges immediate access for humanitarian relief to Syria's besieged areas

WASHINGTON, Jan 28 (KUNA) — As the United States seeks a solution to the Syrian conflict via political transition in accordance with the Geneva communique of 2012 and a nationwide cease-fire, US officials continue to emphasize an independent and immediate need for access for humanitarian relief to all UN-designated besieged areas, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said on Thursday.
The United Nations reaffirmed the urgency of the situation yesterday when it announced the number of besieged areas in Syria had risen from 15 to 18, the overwhelming majority of which are being besieged by the Assad regime, Toner noted during a briefing.
The United Nations estimates that more than 486,000 people in Syria are living in besieged areas and more than 274,000 people are besieged by the Assad regime; roughly 200,000 people by the so-called Islamic State (IS) and more than 12,000 people by non-state armed groups and the Nusra Front, Toner said “All parties must allow for immediate unconditional and unfettered humanitarian assistance to reach those in need in all of the besieged areas,” he said.
The Assad regime must comply with its obligations under the international humanitarian law, “and we have been clear that UN member states, particularly Russia, must also unite to pressure the regime to grant access now, as all members of the International Syria Support Group committed to doing so last November in Vienna,” Toner said. (end)