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UN aid convoys meant for Syria stuck in Turkey as ceasefire ends

Two 20-truck aid convoys destined for eastern Aleppo with enough supplies to feed 185,000 people for a month are still stuck in Turkey, a UN spokesman says hours after a ceasefire in Syria expires.

The 20 trucks contain enough supplies to feed 185,000 people for month, the UN says

A 20-truck convoy filled with aid meant for Syria has been stuck in Turkey for a week. (Osman Orsal/Reuters)

Two 20-truck aid convoys destined for eastern Aleppo with enough supplies to feed 185,000 people for a month are still stuck in Turkey, a UN spokesman said Monday, hours after a ceasefire in Syria had expired.

The UN has said it does not have sufficient security guarantees from all sides in the conflict, now in its sixth year, to be able to deliver to eastern Aleppo, which is held by rebels battling to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

The aid has been sitting at the border for around a week.

The UN also wants to deliver to other hard-to-reach areas in Syria, but says it has not received necessary permissions from the Syrian government to proceed.

The seven-day ceasefire declared by the Syrian army expired at midnight with no announcement of its extension. A Syrian rebel official said the truce had ended, and there was no hope the eastern Aleppo aid would be delivered.

Deaths since ceasefire began

A Syrian activist group says 92 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the U.S.-Russia-brokered ceasefire a week ago.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday that 29 children and teenagers are among those killed, as well as 17 women. The figure does not include dozens of Syrian soldiers and Islamic State militants killed in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour.

The Syrian army said in a statement last week that the cease-fire would last until midnight Sunday but it's not clear if the U.S.-Russia-brokered deal set a time limit for the truce. There have been remarks from the Syrian military in Damascus that the truce might be extended by 72 hours.

Up to 275,000 people remain trapped in that part of Syria's most populous city without food, water, proper shelter or medical care, said Stephen O'Brien, UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs.

"I am pained and disappointed that a United Nations convoy has yet to cross into Syria from Turkey, and safely reach eastern Aleppo," O'Brien said in a statement.

Food supplies stalled

He referred to a 20-truck convoy, the first of two that would have carried flour and other food supplies, enough to feed about 185,000 people for one month, he said.

The convoy containing enough supplies to feed 185,000 people for one month was supposed to be the first of two. (Omsan Orsal/Reuters)

Both convoys are still sitting at the Turkey-Syria border, where they have been for almost a week, UN spokesman Jens Laerke said.

Humanitarian access to Aleppo hinges on control of the main road into the besieged rebel-held part of the divided city.

The road needs to become a demilitarised zone in order for aid to proceed. Russia has said the Syrian army had begun to withdraw from the road, but insurgent groups in Aleppo have said they have seen no such move and would not pull back from their own positions around the road until it did so.

"I hope that all parties to the conflict, and those with influence over them, would see the convoy as an opportunity to move forward," O'Brien said.

"Humanitarian aid must remain neutral, impartial and free of political and military agendas." 

With files from The Associated Press

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