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Red Crescent crosses ‘Checkpoint of Death’ after ceasefire

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD: 75 Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) volunteers crossed […]

9 April 2014

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD: 75 Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) volunteers crossed Syria’s most deadly street,  the al-Karaj checkpoint, to bring aid into rebel-held Bustan al-Qasr in east Aleppo Tuesday across amidst a temporary ceasefire between government and rebel troops.

“The humanitarian situation needs continued effort,” a United Nations employee says at the end of the video. ‘There is a full plan for the entry of humanitarian aid to our Syrian people, no matter where they are. This is the first step.”

The SARC volunteers transported the assistance into the neighborhood across al-Karaj Checkpoint, which has come to be known as ‘the Checkpoint of Death,’ as civilians crossing between regime- and rebel-held Aleppo are forced to sprint across a street exposed to sniper fire from both sides.

The humanitarian entry, the first since 2013, came after rebels and regime forces agreed to a temporary truce in the neighborhood, replicating similar moves in recent months in Homs and the Damascus suburbs of Yarmouk, Moadimiyet a-Sham, Babila and elsewhere.

“Ceasefire fully respected,” the United Nations posted on Twitter Wednesday, announcing they had delivered the contents of two trucks, full of blankets food and medical aid, to a SARC warehouse in the rebel-held area via push carts.

Syrian air force bombardment has intensified on Aleppo since late December, as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Syrian warplanes had struck contested Bustan al-Qasr merely hours before the temporary truce took hold Tuesday.

The on-the-ground fighting is similarly devastating. This week, rebel groups are clashing with government forces in in the Old City near the Ummayad Mosque in the city’s northeast near Aleppo Central Prison as well as in the southwestern suburbs, where rebels have announced a campaign to seize five critical military installations.

Video courtesy of Aleppo News Network.

-By Mohammed Ali al-Haj Ali and Elizabeth Parker-Magyar on April 9, 2014

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