Europe

UN: Access to besieged Syrian areas even worse this year

  • Jan Egeland, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria speaks about the International Syria Support Group's Humanitarian Access Task Force at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

    Jan Egeland, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria speaks about the International Syria Support Group's Humanitarian Access Task Force at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Jan Egeland, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria speaks about the International Syria Support Group's Humanitarian Access Task Force at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

    Jan Egeland, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria speaks about the International Syria Support Group's Humanitarian Access Task Force at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Jan Egeland, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria speaks about the International Syria Support Group's Humanitarian Access Task Force at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

    Jan Egeland, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria speaks about the International Syria Support Group's Humanitarian Access Task Force at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The U.N.'s chief humanitarian adviser for Syria says aid agencies have been able to reach fewer besieged people with relief this year compared to the same period last year.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Jan Egeland said the front lines have shifted but civilian suffering has "remained the same" in 2017.

Of nearly 5 million Syrians living in besieged or hard-to-reach areas, agencies have only been able to reach 564,000 this year, according to Egeland.

The Syrian government and rebels are allowing up to 30,000 people to leave areas besieged by their forces over the coming two months in a deal critics say amounts to demographic rearrangement. The U.N. is not supervising that deal.

Egeland said no Syrians should be forced out of their homes through starvation or siege.