Iranian-backed militias in Syria are reported to be ‘denying passage to convoys carrying much-needed assistance to besieged Syrians’. The report via the news agency AFP appeared on Thursday.
The article appeared on the news site of Iran’s main opposition group, who is democratically opposed to the Syrian conflict.
Syria’s UN envoy Staffan de Mistura reported on the implications of this obstruction saying that the ‘UN was planning several aid deliveries to Afrin and Azaz, two flashpoint areas in the Aleppo Syrian province. But the fallout from a ‘Russian [and Iranian]-baked assault has sparked concern about a ceasefire.’
Further concerns come form EU top diplomat and Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini who said in a report by Sputnik News that ‘the ceasefire in Syria has now been in place for six weeks [and] we are concerned by the recent violations’.
The UN envoy Staffan de Mistura criticized Bashar al-Assad’s regime ‘for hindering efforts to deliver life-saving assistance to Syrians in need.’ Pointing to where the fighting was heaviest, the office of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) commented that it’s ‘around Handarat, along a route leading north out of the opposition-held parts of the city.’
The observatory’s head Rami Abdel Rahman said that ‘regime forces [Iranian and Russian-backed] were seeking to cut-off that road and “completely besiege” the eastern neighborhoods.’ He added that Iran and the ‘regime loyalists backed by Russia’s air power, pressed a fierce offensive just north in the Aleppo Syrian province,’ as reported in another article coming out of Washington.
Talking about the ‘the Syrian parties and their backers’, the UN envoy Staffan de Mistura calls on Iran who, alongside Russia, backs the Syrian regime, saying they must ‘engage in the process on three key elements agreed by all of us in the International Syria Support Group (ISSG)’ in February.
The three imperatives agreed by the 17-nation International Syria Support Group are listed as follows: Ensuring Humanitarian Access, Achieving a Nationwide Cessation of Hostilities, and Advancing a Political Transition.
A new round of settlement talks started in Geneva on Wednesday, leading on from a progressive round in March where the ISSG of 17 countries reached consensus ‘on how to stop internal conflict in Syria.’