© 2022 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Despite Cease-Fire, Syrians Await Badly Needed Humanitarian Aid


Syrians are seeing mixed results from the cease-fire that began a couple of days ago. The plan was negotiated between Russia, which supports a Syrian regime, and the U.S., which opposes it. The cease-fire is supposed to bring calm, much-needed aid and eventually peace talks. NPR's Alice Fordham reports.

ALICE FORDHAM, BYLINE: The cease-fire began during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adah, where families traditionally have a big feast and go on visits to their friends and relatives. We reached a civilian - an archaeologist, in fact - in the province of Idlib named Abdel Rahman Yahya who said violence is way down.

ABDEL RAHMAN YAHYA: (Through interpreter) It's less than before. The air bombardments are less than before, though the regime continues to make violations. But in general, that Eid atmosphere, thank God - you know, the Eid is for the kids, and they were happy.

FORDHAM: But in other areas where there's often heavy fighting, there is still clashes between regime and rebels. Here's Louay Burhan, who lives in a rebel-held village called Madaya. He says there was still too much violence for him to go out this Eid.

LOUAY BURHAN: About this Eid, nothing has changed, you know? The people here, in general, are very scared, and they hope to finish this war.

FORDHAM: And he said there was definitely no feasting because no aid has reached them. As part of the deal, the Syrian regime was expected to give the United Nations permission to deliver aid to rebel-held areas. But today, the fourth day of this cease-fire, frustrated officials made it clear that's not happening. Here's Jan Egeland, who heads a humanitarian task force on Syria. He called out the regime.


JAN EGELAND: So our appeal is the following. It's a simple one. Can well-fed, grown men please stop putting political, bureaucratic and procedural roadblocks for brave humanitarian workers that are willing and able to go to serve women, children, wounded civilians in besieged and cross-fire areas?

FORDHAM: And U.N. officials are exasperated because both regime and rebels were supposed to move away from a supply route that leads into a part of Aleppo held by the opposition. That hasn't been happening as fast as it was meant to, and by sundown, no aid had passed along that road. And it's a measure of how shaky this deal is that some people on the opposition side of Aleppo held a protest, saying they don't want that aid to come in.


UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting in foreign language).

FORDHAM: They uploaded a video showing themselves demonstrating against the aid. Many of them reject any deal between the U.S. and Russia. Russia is allied with the Syrian government, and much of the opposition sees a truce brokered by Russia as a win for President Bashar al-Assad. Alice Fordham, NPR News, Beirut. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.