U.N. starts first aid airlifts to Syria from Iraq as cold grips

Sun, Dec 15, 2013

by Suadad Al-Salhy

The United Nations sent its first delivery of humanitarian aid by air to Syria from Arbil, Iraq on Sunday and said it plans to deliver more food and winter supplies in the next 12 days.

The U.N. said two planes are expected to do 23 rotations over the next 10 days. The aid includes planeloads of food, for more than 6,000 Syrian families for the rest of December.

The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) also plans to send 300 tons of relief items such as blankets, sleeping mats and kitchen sets to support 60,000 displaced people. A planeload from UNICEF contains health kits, water and sanitation supplies.

"We have been particularly worried about the situation of children and families in the northern parts of Syria because of the insecurity and limited access," said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, adding: "These airlifts will help ensure they have access to safe water and health care through the tough winter months ahead."

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