Middle East

UN aid chief accuses Syria of blocking help to neediest

The U.N. humanitarian chief is accusing the Syrian government of blocking aid to hundreds of thousands of the country's neediest people despite a nationwide cease-fire that has given "a glimmer of hope" that the conflict might be coming to an end.

Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council on Thursday that a two-step approval process that the government agreed to for humanitarian convoys "has become, in practice, a 10-step process."

He said the result is that only one convoy delivered aid to 6,000 people in December, when the U.N. sought to help 930,250 people. So far in January, he said, a single convoy reached 40,000 people.

O'Brien urged council members with influence to pressure the Syrian government to allow aid deliveries to all besieged and hard to reach areas.