The Syrian government and Turkey-backed rebel forces have blocked more than 100 trucks carrying humanitarian aid from entering two zones in Aleppo province hit by last month’s deadly earthquake, Amnesty International said on Monday.
The aid, which included food, medical supplies, tents and fuel, was sent by Kurdish authorities, the rights group said.
It said the Syrian government had prevented 100 trucks carrying food, medical supplies and tents from entering Kurdish-majority areas of Aleppo city.
To the north, rebels blocked 30 trucks of fuel and other help from entering Afrin, an enclave that Turkish forces and allied rebels have held since they pushed out Kurdish fighters in 2018.
Some 5,700 people were killed by the Feb. 6 quake and aftershocks in Syria, which 12 years of conflict have carved up into competing regions and where aid deliveries had long been fraught with complications. Aleppo province is divided into government-, Kurdish- and rebel-controlled zones.
Those regional hostilities have largely stayed in place since the disaster, prompting accusations that life-saving aid was being politicised.
“These politically motivated obstructions of critical aid have had tragic ramifications, especially for search and recovery teams who need fuel to operate machinery,” said Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Majzoub said all sides of the conflict should ensure that civilians “have unfettered access to aid.”
The United Nations and other humanitarian organisations have also criticised hardline Islamist forces in the north for blocking aid coming from government-held zones.
So far, most aid to opposition-held areas of Syria has come through three border crossings with neighbouring Turkey – two of which were opened exceptionally with the approval of President Bashar al-Assad.
Aid into government-controlled zones has come in by plane, truck and sea.