Syria: Aid from Kurdish authorities blocked by government and Turkish-backed groups

Syria: Aid from Kurdish authorities blocked by government and Turkish-backed groups
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Some 130 trucks delivering food, medical supplies, tents and fuel for earthquake survivors have been prevented from entering areas in Aleppo.

The Syrian government and Turkey-backed factions have blocked more than 100 trucks carrying humanitarian aid from entering two areas in Aleppo province hit by earthquakes on 6 February, Amnesty International said on Monday.

The aid, which included food, medical supplies, tents and fuel, was sent by Kurdish authorities, the rights group said.

It said the Syrian government prevented 100 trucks carrying food, medical supplies and tents from entering Kurdish-majority neighborhoods of Aleppo city.

To the north, Turkish-backed factions blocked 30 trucks of fuel and other help from entering Afrin, an enclave that Turkish forces and its proxies have held since they pushed out Kurdish fighters in 2018.

While some areas of Aleppo are under the control of the government, some like Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyeh neighborhoods are semi-autonomous and run by Kurdish-led local administrations, and some are controlled by Turkish-backed armed factions.

Hostilities have largely stayed in place since the disaster that killed some 5,700 people across Syria's north, as relief efforts have been politicized.

Earlier, aid from government-held parts of Syria into territories controlled by armed factions has been blocked by Al Qaeda offshoot Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). A spokesperson for the UN humanitarian aid office said that "there were issues with approval" by HTS, while an HTS source in Idlib said the group would not allow any shipments from government-held parts of Syria and that aid would be coming in from Turkey to the north.

"These politically motivated obstructions of critical aid have had tragic ramifications, especially for search and recovery teams who need fuel to operate machinery," said Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Majzoub stressed that all sides of the conflict should ensure that civilians "have unfettered access to aid."