GENEVA, April 20 (Xinhua) -- The UN Special Advisor for Syria, Jan Egeland, Thursday said far fewer people have been receiving vital relief items this year, with only 564,000 civilians receiving humanitarian relief out of nearly five million Syrians in besieged areas.
"There are resources for relief in Syria; there are courageous humanitarian workers; there are trucks; we have warehouses, but we are not able to go into many besieged areas," he said.
Taking stock of the current situation in Syria, Egeland said that while the battle grounds shifted and the front lines changed, civilian suffering remained the same in 2017. The 400,000 people of the besieged towns in the eastern Ghouta province need very urgent humanitarian relief, he added.
Referring to a horrifying attack on a bus convoy with evacuees from the besieged towns of Fouah and Kefraya on April 15, Egeland said: "Many would like to see these horrible murderers and terrorists are brought to justice. But we don't know who did it."
These evacuations are part of a negotiated deal between the Syrian government and opposition groups, allowing some people to leave besieged areas.
Egeland appealed to countries who have some say in the evacuations to bring in experts on the protection of civilians, so that proper protection and safety standards could be observed.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that he would be meeting the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Gennady Gatilov, but that there would not be a trilateral meeting including the United States this time.
"The trilateral meeting is not taking place, but it is still on the table," De Mistura said. "Instead there will be a very intense bilateral meeting between the Russian Federation Deputy Foreign Minister and ourselves, because we definitely have many things to discuss with them."