A fighter of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is seen in the eastern Deir al Zor - REUTERS
GENEVA - 15 September 2017: The first aid convoy of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reached Syria's Deir Ez-Zor after a three year siege, UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said.
The five trucks of aid arrived in Deir Ez-Zor on Thursday after a 22-hour journey from a UNHCR warehouse in Homs. The convoy brought much needed shelter materials, plastic sheeting, solar lamps, kitchen and hygiene sets for 30,000 people, Mahecic said at Friday's press briefing.
An estimated 93,000 people in Deir Ez-Zor – the largest city in eastern Syria - had been besieged since 2014.
Previous assistance to them was only possible through World Food Program (WFP) airdrops until last week when the siege was broken and access to Deir Ez-Zor became possible.
UNHCR partners estimate that at least 75,000 people in Deir Ez-Zor are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Yesterday’s convoy was the first batch of UNHCR assistance to the people in this part of Syria. More aid is in the pipeline.
As intense fighting around Deir Ez-Zor and in Ar-Raqqa continues, UNHCR reiterates its calls for protection of civilian population, their safe passage out of areas of conflict and respect for the principles of international humanitarian law.
Together with other UN agencies in Syria, UNHCR advocates for safe, unimpeded and sustained access to all people in need across the country, in particular to more than 4.5 million Syrians trapped in hard-to-reach and besieged areas.