UN launches aid delivery from Jordan to 650,000 Syrians

A displaced Syrian girl cries inside the Internallly Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Al-Hol in Al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria on December 8, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 09 December 2018
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UN launches aid delivery from Jordan to 650,000 Syrians

  • Known as Jaber on the Jordanian side and Nassib in Syria, the crossing is a key Middle East trade route
  • Reopening in October after a three-year closure was seen as a boon for the economies of both countries

AMMAN: The United Nations said Sunday it began delivering aid to hundreds of thousands of Syrians through the Jaber-Nassib border crossing with Jordan, which reopened two months ago.
In total, "369 trucks carrying 11,200 metric tons of... assistance for over 650,000 people" will be involved in the four-week operation, the UN's humanitarian agency OCHA said.
The "exceptional" delivery, which amounts to one-month's worth of aid, would be carried out by six UN agencies and one international NGO, it added.
"This is a major logistical operation in an effort to mitigate the suffering of the Syrian people," said Anders Pedersen, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Jordan.
Among the immediate needs of Syrians were food, shelter, water and medical care, according to OCHA.
"We are working closely with our UN partners inside Syria to ensure this assistance reaches those who need it most," Pedersen added.
Syrian regime forces retook control of the border crossing from rebels in July.
Known as Jaber on the Jordanian side and Nassib in Syria, the crossing is a key Middle East trade route and its reopening in October after a three-year closure was seen as a boon for the economies of both countries.
Syria's civil war has killed more than 360,000 people since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.
More than half the country's 23 million people have fled, with 6.6 million of those internally displaced and more than 5.6 million going abroad, according to UN figures.


Iraq lifts nearly 30 km of blast walls from Baghdad: official

Updated 17 June 2019
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Iraq lifts nearly 30 km of blast walls from Baghdad: official

BAGHDAD: Iraqi authorities have removed nearly 30 kilometers of concrete blast walls across Baghdad in the last six months, mostly around the capital’s high-security Green Zone, a senior official told AFP.
Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, T-walls — thick barriers about six meters tall and one meter wide — have surrounded potential targets of car bombs or other attacks.
When premier Adel Abdel Mahdi came to power last year, he promised to remove barriers, checkpoints and other security measures to make Baghdad easier to navigate.
“Over the last six months, we removed 18,000 T-walls in Baghdad, including 14,000 in the Green Zone alone,” said Staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bayati, the PM’s top military adviser.
Hundreds of the security checkpoints that contributed to Baghdad’s notorious traffic jams have also been removed.
And according to the Baghdad municipality, 600 streets that had been closed off to public access have been opened in the last six months.
Among them are key routes crossing through Baghdad’s Green Zone, the enclave where government buildings, UN agencies and embassies including the US and UK missions are based.
It was long inaccessible to most Iraqis until an order from Abdel Mahdi last year, and families can now be seen picking their way across its manicured parks for sunset pictures.
Iraq is living a rare period of calm after consecutive decades of violence, which for Baghdad peaked during the sectarian battles from 2006 to 2008.
It was followed, in 2014, by Daesh’s sweep across a third of the country and a three-year battle to oust the militants from their urban strongholds.
The group still wages hit-and-run attacks against Iraqi security forces and government targets, and Baghdad’s authorities are on high alert.
Thousands of the removed T-walls have been placed on Baghdad’s outskirts to prevent infiltration by Daesh sleeper cells, according to Bayati.