The leaders of five major United Nations agencies warned on Wednesday that the humanitarian situation in war-torn Syria is continuing to deteriorate, despite a February U.N. Security Council resolution that pressured authorities and rebels to allow aid access.
“The war escalates in many areas. The humanitarian situation deteriorates day after day,” the chiefs said in a joint statement. “The worst days seem yet to come,” they added.
The aid agencies called on Syria's warring parties to allow aid to move freely, end siege warfare and halt the indiscriminate bombing of civilians. They also urged major international players to "find the courage" to restart peace talks, adding that a massive appeal for aid last year largely went unanswered.
For those who remain in Syria, conditions are extremely dire. According to the U.N., more than 9.3 million people are affected by the crisis and 3.5 million Syrians are living in areas under siege. Men, women and children have fallen victim to bombardments, rockets, mortars and other attacks. Cities that are surrounded by government troops or militias lack food and medical supplies. One-third of the country’s water treatment plants no longer function, and more than half of the health centers are destroyed.
"There are communities in Aleppo that are completely cut of from aid by both sides of the conflict," the World Food Program's Abeer Atefa told HuffPostLive.
According to Amnesty International's Syria researcher, Neil Sammonds, the Syrian government is the main actor working against aid distribution. "They have control over the majority of the frontiers and they're refusing to allow the aid come through," Sammonds said. "And this despite a U.N. resolution that explicitly calls on the government and opposition groups to let aid in."
Sammonds added that while at times there's been some movement on the part of the Syrian government to allow aid in via organizations such as UNRWA, the United Nations' Relief Agency, "It's clearly not enough."
"This is the future of Syria," Atefa urged. "This is a generation of children and young people whose lives are being blocked."
"It's unacceptable in this time and age, when we have food in our warehouses, that we can not get to those people that need aid."
Watch the full HuffPostLive conversation about Syria's need for aid in the video above.