Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, March 21, 2023


US, UN worry about quake aid after air strike on Aleppo airport

By Daphne Psaledakis and Michelle Nichols

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States said on Wednesday it would be concerned if there is a prolonged disruption to humanitarian aid deliveries in Syria after the Aleppo airport was knocked out of service by an air strike that Syrian state media blamed on Israel.

The airport was being used to deliver aid to victims of last month’s earthquake that killed thousands. Syria’s Ministry of Transport had diverted all flights with earthquake aid to Damascus or Latakia, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that, while he could not “speak to attribution” for Tuesday’s air strike, Washington would worry about any lengthy halt to the flow of humanitarian aid.

The closure of the airport could have “severe humanitarian implications for people in Aleppo – one of worst earthquake-impacted governorates in the country – and could also affect the wider vulnerable population who need humanitarian assistance,” Deputy U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said on Wednesday.

He said all U.N. Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights from Aleppo had been suspended, adding that those flights transport aid workers and life-saving supplies and must resume without delay.

“We call on all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, including by taking all feasible precautions to spare civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of hostilities,” Haq said.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the Syrian state media accusation that it was behind the air strike.

Israel has for years been carrying out attacks against what it has described as Iran-linked targets in Syria, where Tehran’s influence has grown since it began supporting President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war that began in 2011.

Foreign donors including the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Algeria have flown aid into Aleppo airport since the Feb. 6 earthquake, Syrian state media has reported.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; writing by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Grant McCool)


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