A joint aid convoy of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the United Nations (UN) was refused entry to Daraya today, despite having obtained prior clearance from all sides that it could proceed.

“Daraya has been the site of relentless fighting for more than three and a half years, and we know the situation there is desperate”, said Marianne Gasser, Head of ICRC’s Delegation, who was part of today’s convoy. 

“Civilians trapped here urgently need humanitarian aid. We hoped today’s distribution might prove to be a first step and lead to more aid being allowed in. Unfortunately, we were prevented from entering and eventually had to turn back.”

The convoy was due to provide essential medical supplies to the town’s field hospital, distribute baby milk and lead a vaccination campaign for children under 12, as well as distribute hygiene and school materials. This would have been the first ever aid delivery to the town, which has been under siege since November 2012.

“Communities in Daraya are in need of everything, and it’s tragic that even the basics we were bringing today are being delayed unnecessarily. As a neutral humanitarian organization, we must be able to provide aid impartially and safely”, said Mrs Gasser. “There must be minimum conditions for independent humanitarian action in Syria, which were not met today. We urge the responsible authorities to grant us this access immediately.”

Beyond allowing this initial convoy through, the ICRC and its partners need concerned authorities to let it provide other essentials such as food, and allow it to help restore basic services like water and electricity.