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

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.


Gulf countries announce measures to cut links with Iran as coronavirus cases rise in Middle East

Updated 23 min 3 sec ago

Gulf countries announce measures to cut links with Iran as coronavirus cases rise in Middle East

  • The UAE suspended all passenger and cargo flights to Iran
  • Kuwait has canceled celebrations for national holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday

DUBAI: Gulf countries announced new measures on Tuesday to cut links with Iran to prevent coronavirus spreading after the confirmation of 20 new cases, all of them people returning from the Islamic republic.

The UAE suspended all passenger and cargo flights to Iran after Kuwait and Bahrain announced the additional cases of COVID-19.

Over the past two days, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman have reported 29 cases of the novel coronavirus among people returning from pilgrimages to Iran, which is battling the deadliest outbreak outside China and where the death toll has reached 16.

Bahrain also announced 9 new cases, bringing the total number affected in the kingdom to 17 — including six Saudi women — after they returned from Iran via Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority “suspended all passenger flights and cargo to and from Iran starting today and for one week,” a statement carried by the official WAM news agency said, adding that the ban could be extended.

Also on Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed tweeted that the UAE was ready to provide all forms of support to help China combat the spread of the virus.

Shortly after, the Bahraini authorities said citizens were banned from traveling to Iran “until further notice.”

In neighboring Kuwait, three new cases were recorded among Kuwaiti men who had been under quarantine after returning from Iran.

Oman, which on Monday reported its first cases of coronavirus in two Omani women who had returned from Iran, reported an additional two cases.

Muscat was making arrangements to bring back its citizens from the Islamic republic, the foreign ministry said, a day after it suspended all flights to and from Iran.

Oman also announced that it will suspend the import and export of goods from Iran from Wednesday.

The three countries have large Shiite Muslim populations who frequently travel to Iran to visit holy shrines.

The UAE has already announced 13 coronavirus cases, all foreigners, including an Iranian couple who had traveled from Iran.

Kuwait has canceled celebrations for national holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday and also scrapped all sports events to counter the spread of the disease.