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US urges more humanitarian aid to Syria by air

US urges more humanitarian aid to Syria by air
State Dept. welcomes latest humanitarian aid delivery

By Esra Kaymak Avci

WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. urged the UN backed humanitarian aid program on Wednesday to deliver additional aid through the air, as ground delivery has been "insufficient" to help the Syrian people.

"The U.S. supports the World Food Program moving forward on their planning to carry out air operations to provide additional aid," State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

However, he added this was "far from sufficient" to provide the kind of relief needed by Syrians in besieged areas.

Kirby's comments come after the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent delivered humanitarian aid to two small towns in Syria, Darayya and al-Moadamiyeh, earlier Wednesday.

It was the first aid convoy to enter Darayya since 2012, according to the Red Cross.

Since the war started in Syria in early 2011, when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests, more than 250,000 people have been killed, according to UN figures.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke Wednesday via telephone.

"They talked about moving forward with the world food program and the potential for the planning for air drops," Kirby said.

He added the U.S. wanted Russia to use its influence with Assad for "continued ground delivery of aid" and to support "international air operations going forward," if needed.

Asked if the diplomats discussed any possible joint airstrikes against Daesh and al-Nusra in Syria, Kirby said they talked about operational efforts and the importance of continuing to share information.

But he added that "there are no joint operations being conducted," nor exist any "plans to begin specific joint operations.

"But we are going to stay in close touch with Russian officials moving forward in terms of how best to counter groups like al-Nusra and Daesh in Syria," he said.

Earlier in May, Russia said it proposed to the U.S. to conduct joint airstrikes against Daesh and al-Nusra.

The Pentagon said it had not been formally notified of the proposal.

source: News Feed
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