MOSCOW, January 14, 23:22 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia is calling for unhindered humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday.
“A considerable part of the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees near Damascus has long been under the control of different Syrian opposition detachments that virtually turned its residents into hostages,” the ministry said.
It said the Syrian government had repeatedly tried to organize humanitarian aid supplies to the camp quarters seized by militants.
“Another such attempt was made on January 13, when a motorcade under the UN flag with a humanitarian cargo was unable to drive through to Yarmouk due to mortar and sniper fire from armed groups’ militants,” the ministry said, adding that a report from the Palestinian labor minister who is in Damascus confirmed that the attack had been made.
“Moscow resolutely condemns such provocative actions by armed groups that make it impossible to deliver humanitarian aid to the civilian population in blocked districts, including the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees,” the statement said.
“We are calling on all parties having influence on opposition forces in Syria to exert maximum influence on them to support civilians suffering from the internal conflict in that country,” the ministry said.
“We believe various humanitarian steps, including local ceasefires in areas of clashes, are especially urgently needed now in the run-up to the Geneva-2 international conference,” it said.
The upcoming peace conference on Syria, dubbed ‘Geneva-2,’ has been pushed through by the United States and Russia and is due January 22.
Fighting between Syrian government troops and rebels that broke out in 2011 has left over 100,000 dead and displaced millions, according to UN statistics.
In the Syrian civil war, Russia has backed the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and the United States has supported Syrian opposition groups.
An international deal was brokered in September 2013 to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. The agreement prevented a likely US-led military intervention.
The process of disarmament in the Middle Eastern country was initiated after hundreds of civilians died in a chemical agent attack that was made on a Damascus suburb last summer.