First Aid Convoy Enters North Syria Since Earthquake

 Aid trucks at the Bab al-Hawa crossing before entering Syria (Reuters)
Aid trucks at the Bab al-Hawa crossing before entering Syria (Reuters)
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First Aid Convoy Enters North Syria Since Earthquake

 Aid trucks at the Bab al-Hawa crossing before entering Syria (Reuters)
Aid trucks at the Bab al-Hawa crossing before entering Syria (Reuters)

An aid convoy reached northwestern Syria Thursday, the first since the devastating earthquake that has killed thousands, according to an official at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing between Türkiye and Syria.

“The first UN aid convoy entered on Thursday, four days after the earthquake,” said Mazen Alloush, media officer at the crossing.

Alloush noted the delivery had been expected before Monday's quake, but said: “It could be considered an initial response from the United Nations, and it should be followed, as we were promised, with bigger convoys to help our people.”

An AFP correspondent saw Thursday six trucks passing through the crossing from Türkiye, carrying tents and hygiene products.

UN aid reaches Syrian opposition-held areas through the Bab al-Hawa crossing – the only humanitarian aid corridor agreed by the UN Security Council resolution in 2014 to allow aid to cross on the Turkish-Syrian border.

But the road leading to the crossing was damaged by the earthquake, temporarily disrupting operations, a UN spokesman said on Tuesday.

UN special envoy Geir Pedersen said Thursday in Geneva that the UN had been “assured Thursday that it would be able to get through the first assistance.”

On Wednesday, the UN's resident Syria coordinator El-Mostafa Benlamlih warned that the UN has some stocks in the area -- enough to feed 100,000 people for one week.

The devastating earthquake had affected five Syrian governorates. Since Monday, relief teams have been busy searching for survivors under the rubble amid a shortage of rescue equipment.

Benlamlih said the destruction in Aleppo, Homs, Lattakia and other provinces “is huge.”

“But we know also that the destruction in the northwest is huge and we need to get there to assess,” he affirmed.

In government-held provinces, planes carrying aid have landed in the past two days in the airports of Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia.



Hamas’ Armed Wing Says Israeli Airstrike Killed Two Hostages in Rafah

12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
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Hamas’ Armed Wing Says Israeli Airstrike Killed Two Hostages in Rafah

12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)

Hamas' armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said on Friday that two Israeli hostages held in Gaza were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Rafah a few days ago.

The group, in a video posted on its Telegram channel, did not release the names of those said to have been killed or provide any evidence.

The Israeli government "does not want your hostages to return, except in coffins," the al-Qassam Brigades statement said.

Israel rescued four hostages held by Hamas in a hostage-freeing operation in central Gaza's al-Nuseirat on June 8. The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said more than 250 Palestinians were killed in the raid.

The war in Gaza erupted when Hamas fighters stormed southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel has responded with a military assault on the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry. Israel says its campaign is intended to eliminate Hamas as a threat and free the remaining hostages.