Damascus, Sep 18 (IANS) The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Saturday blamed the delay in the delivery of humanitarian aid to the eastern part of the northern city of Aleppo on the rebel groups, which are posing threats to the highway the aid convoys will be using, according to the state news agency SANA.
The ministry said the Syrian government has made all possible efforts to facilitate the flow of aid to the rebel-held eastern side of Aleppo, adding that it has not yet received any guarantees on the security of the road.
The armed rebels are still firing on the Castello Highway and nearby sub roads, said the ministry, adding that the government also setups outposts for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, as part of its efforts to facilitate the flow of aid.
“The armed rebel groups have not withdrawn away from the road, but on the contrary, they are still committing some provocative, dangerous acts,” the ministry said.
On Thursday, the Syrian army started withdrawing heavy military gears from Castello, as part of a Russian-American deal to facilitate the flow of aid to rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo.
According to the deal, which was not fully disclosed, the rebels were also set to withdraw back in order to make the Castello a humanitarian road under the supervision of Russian forces.
However, the rebels didn’t pull back and said they don’t want the aid to be scrutinized by the Russians or the Syrian government, firing on the road several times and attacking a nearby Syrian military position, which prompted the Syrian army to return its gears to the Castello.
The aid delivery is a second step of the U.S.-Russian deal, which started with a shaky truce last Monday.
The truce brought in relative calm to Syria, mainly to Aleppo, despite the fact that the government and Russia have counted tens of breaches by the rebels.
The Castello road was under the rebel control for a long time, becoming their main supply line into their areas in eastern Aleppo.
A couple of months ago, the Syrian army captured Castello, placing a full siege on the rebel-held areas in Aleppo city.
Now, international efforts are being exerted to resolve the aid delivery issue.