Despite a cessation of hostilities agreement that has temporarily reduced violence in Syria, Physicians for Human Rights finds in this issue brief that life-saving humanitarian aid is still not reaching hundreds of thousands of besieged Syrians.
The cessation of hostilities between the Syrian government and opposition groups, which came into effect on February 27, has so far been successful in reducing violence, but has largely failed in its attempt to deliver humanitarian aid to desperate populations in Syria. Aid deliveries were not just meant to be a by-product of the cessation but were explicitly laid out in the agreement negotiated by the United States and Russia. Nevertheless, in the cessation’s first three weeks, the United Nations and its partner organizations made only five deliveries of aid, reaching just 30 percent of the nearly half million Syrians living in besieged areas.
At least 340,000 people – and perhaps many more – continue to wait for help in areas that have been cut off for months, and in some cases years, with virtually no access to vital food, medical supplies, and other humanitarian aid. In one area, malnourished children are increasingly showing the distended bellies typically found in famine settings.