April 20, 2012
Report: Roadside bomb kills 10 Syrian security personnel near Golan
Ten Syrian security personnel were killed on Friday in a roadside bomb planted by “terrorists” in Sahm al Golan village in the southwest of the country, state television said.
It said that the bomb weighed 100 kilogrammes (220 pounds) but gave no other details.
This comes as the United Nations had hoped to get permission from the Syrian government in coming days to send more aid workers to the country to help at least one million people in need of urgent assistance, a top U.N. humanitarian official said on Friday.
Syria has recognized there are “serious humanitarian needs” and that action is required, but logistical issues and visas for aid workers are still being discussed, said John Ging, Director of Operations of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“Now it’s a question of implementing those plans. This is where we are needing to mobilize more effective engagement with the Syrians to get that plan fully up and running,” Ging said.
“The next step in the process which we want to see concluded in a matter of days…is to get agreement on the operationalisation of the plan and concurrent with that the mobilization of the resources to make it happen,” he said.
Ging was speaking to reporters after the Syrian Humanitarian Forum was held in Geneva to discuss a $180 million assistance plan for six months. The plan was drawn up after a joint assessment mission conducted with Syrian officials last month.
Syria’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, attended the closed-door talks along with representatives of donor countries and of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Speaking separately to reporters, Hamoui said it had been a constructive meeting but accused some unnamed delegations of trying to politicize humanitarian aid.
“We are ready to cooperate but we hope they come to enter the house from the front door, not the window,” he said. “We don’t have any crisis in Syria, it is not Somalia.”
Ging, asked about guarantees on access by Syrian authorities, said: “That’s the central issue to what we are negotiating - access, capacity of humanitarian agencies and organizations on the ground.
“We have to have agreement to ramp up that capacity, we have to have agreement on the practicalities, the whole logistical practicalities and visa issues for staff. There’s a range of very practical issues that we are focused on in our negotiations with the government of Syria which will then enable us to what is needed on a larger scale.”
U.N. agencies have been largely shut out of Syria, where the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is the only international body to deploy aid workers.
U.N. agencies have made some relief supplies available for distribution by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.
Ging also said the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) aimed to double the number of people it was assisting in Syria this month to 200,000 from 100,000 in March.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay Editing by Maria Golovnina