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US says Assad fails to authorize UN food delivery

US says Assad fails to authorize UN food delivery

'The regime continues to use denial of food as a military weapon against its own civilians,' State Dept. says

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The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has failed to authorize the UN and its partners to deliver aid to the besieged town of Darayya, the U.S. said Monday.

"The Syrian regime continues to renege on the agreement it reached with the UN," State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau said during a press briefing.

Because of the regime's violations, the UN is unable to deliver assistance to Syria, she said.

"In other words, the regime continues to use the denial of food as a military weapon against its own civilians,” Trudeau added and urged the regime to live up to its commitments.

During the last International Syria Support Group meeting in May, the group agreed to use its influence with all parties on the ground to ensure that humanitarian aid could be delivered. The clause was also defined by UN resolution 2254.

Trudeau said residents of Darayya have not received food since 2012 and have been brutalized by the regime that has since blocked food and basic supplies to the region.

"We ask that Russia use its influence to end this inhumane policy," she said.

She also said the UN World Food Program provided briefings to the U.S. during the weekend on a series of approaches for food delivery.

"We understand the World Food Program will be submitting a plan for air drops soon," she said.

Regarding increased violence in Aleppo, she said the Syrian regime had the "right" to clash with the al-Nusra Front offensive in southern Aleppo as the group is not a party to a cease-fire deal reached in February.

But she said in northern Aleppo, the regime hit "participants to the cessation" last weekend, which threatened the delivery of humanitarian aid.

"We have called on the Assad regime to carefully distinguish between terrorists and parties to the cessation of hostilities. Russia as well," she said.

Daesh and al-Nusra are not included in the truce to halt the ongoing violence in the war-torn country where more than 250,000 victims have been killed in five years of fighting, according to UN figures.

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