UN resumes dropping food aid in Syria’s Deir Ezzor
DEIR EZZOR - The UN said Tuesday it had resumed air drops of desperately-needed aid to Deir Ezzor in Syria after halting the deliveries over two weeks ago due to heavy fighting.
The UN's World Food Programme had on January 15 suspended air drops to the eastern city due to heavy fighting after a fierce assault by Islamic State (IS) group militants.
IS has laid siege to Deir Ezzor and its 100,000 residents since 2015 and already controls large parts of the city, but earlier this month moved further into government-held territory, prompting fierce clashes and heavy bombardment by the Syrian military and Russia.
WFP said it had resumed the air drops -- the only way to get aid into the city -- on Sunday after finding a "new, safer location for the drop zone."
"We are glad that we can continue to bring life-saving food and other aid supplies to this besieged town," WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luetscher told reporters in Geneva.
She said the agency had been unable to use the old drop zone due to "a real danger to the volunteers on the ground."
Since deliveries to Deir Ezzor began in April 2016, the UN has staged 179 air drops, containing more than 3,340 metric tonnes of food and other aid, supporting some 93,500 people in need, WFP said.