First Published: 2017-07-12

WFP expands food aid deliveries in Syria's Raqa
Resumption of aid deliveries in parts of Syria's Raqa comes as thousands of civilians are being displaced by US-backed campaign to oust Islamic State jihadist group.
Middle East Online

Aid provision to Raqa province is complicated by its remote location and myriad warring factions.

DAMASCUS - The UN's World Food Programme announced Wednesday it has resumed aid deliveries in parts of Syria's Raqa province for the first time in three years using a newly-opened land route.

The deliveries come as thousands of civilians are being displaced by a US-backed campaign to oust the Islamic State jihadist group from the provincial capital of the same name in northern Syria.

Aid provision to the wider province of Raqa is complicated by the region's remote location and by the myriad warring factions that control access routes to it.

Until last month, the World Food Programme was relying on flying aid from Damascus to the neighbouring province of Hasakeh and then delivering it to surrounding areas.

The land route instead travels from Aleppo province to the west of Raqa and has "allowed access for the first time in three years to Al-Mansura and other rural areas north of Raqa city", the WFP said.

Al-Mansura is a town west of Raqa city and was recaptured from IS in June.

"WFP is now delivering food every month to nearly 200,000 people, displaced in eight hard-to-reach locations inside Raqa governorate as well as other areas in neighbouring governorates," the UN agency said.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters, have been battling since November 2016 to oust IS from Raqa province.

They entered Raqa city for the first time in June after spending months working to encircle it. SDF forces now control nearly 35 percent of the one-time IS bastion.

IS is also under pressure elsewhere in Syria and in neighbouring Iraq, where it lost its largest stronghold of Mosul this week.

 

Iraq Kurds start voting in historic independence referendum

Erdogan threatens Iraqi Kurds with border closure, oil block

US-led strikes killed 84 civilians near Syria's Raqa

Iran shuts border with Iraqi Kurdistan

Dubai set to become first city with flying taxis

UAE announces plans for region’s first nuclear reactor

Putin to visit Erdogan this week for Syria, Iraq talks

Sudan vows to step up efforts to improve US ties

Turkey to launch intervention into Syria — and maybe into Iraq

Egyptian ‘world’s heaviest woman’ dies in Abu Dhabi

Palestinian unity government remains unlikely

Emirati man fights his employer to serve in country’s army

Palestinian PM to visit Gaza next week

Saudi advisory body to tackle female driving ban

Turkey denies closing Iraqi border in response to Kurdish vote

US air strikes kill 17 Islamic State militants in Libya

Yemen's Hadi says military solution 'most likely'

The high cost of Syria’s destruction

Palestinian negotiator awaits lung transplant in US

Kurds ready for contentious vote in Iraq

A Kurdish state: Reality or utopia?

Saudi intercepts missile fired from Yemen

Saudi Arabia marks national day with fireworks, concerts

Iran defies US, tests missile

Turkey warns of 'security' steps in response to Iraqi Kurd vote

Barzani delays Kurdish independence vote announcement

Syria's war off the radar at UN assembly

For many Iraqis, tradition trumps police

Darfur clashes kill 3 as Bashir urges reconciliation

Saudi cleric banned for saying women have ‘quarter’ brain

Veteran Syrian activist, daughter assassinated in Istanbul

Tunisia drops forced anal exams for homosexuality

Bomb used in Saudi-led strike on Yemen children US-made

Syria Kurds vote to cement federal push

Police charge teenager over London Underground attack

Nigerian official to meet Turkish counterpart over illegal guns

Thousands feared trapped in Raqa as IS mounts last stand

Iraqi forces achieve first step in new offensive on IS

Migrant boat sinks off Turkish Black Sea coast leaving four dead, 20 missing

Trump praises 'friend' Erdogan

Yemen leader promises UN to open entire country to aid

Rouhani vows Iran will boost missiles despite US criticism

Russia clashes with EU over Syria

UN Security Council warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

UN sets up probe of IS war crimes in Iraq