Arguments Keep Syria Aid Stuck at Border, Despite Ceasefire

Syrian Govt, Rebels Trade Blame as UN Struggles With Maze of Checkpoints

by Jason Ditz, September 14, 2016

48 hours into the ceasefire, there have been no deaths recorded in Syria, and a sense of calm that is virtually unprecedented during the entire civil war. Aid convoys, however, have found themselves stalled at the Turkish border, with no insight on when they’ll advance.

The big part of the ceasefire was to facilitate humanitarian aid shipments, but the reality is that the obstacles for the shipment of aid are rarely related to the threat of violence, but rather on the need to get approval from every owner of every checkpoint along every route. That’s not been forthcoming.

The UN accused certain unnamed parties of trying to gain “political mileage” out of the aid shipments, and the government and rebels pointedly blamed one another. Syria’s government insists that UN trucks will be allowed in without any objection, but suggested they would not let Turkish government convoys through, citing Turkish military support for the rebels.

But the UN convoys aren’t coming in either, and Turkish convoys are likely to remain in Turkish-occupied territory at any rate, which means the Syrian government wouldn’t be able to stop them. Turkey has suggested they want to send a convoy into Nusra-held east Aleppo, however, which might be better left to the UN. With Nusra not part of the ceasefire, however, and openly condemning it, even that might be a struggle.

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