Yesterday, some 50 tonnes of medical aid was sent to eastern Ghouta in Syria as part of an agreement reached between France and Russia to coordinate humanitarian aid in the war torn Middle Eastern country. Part of a 50 million euro package, it is to arrive at a Russian military base in northwestern Syria at some point today, following an agreement between French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue, according to Reuters.
“This operation is very significant because it shows a willingness from the Russians to work with us on a matter of priority,” said the French diplomatic source. “This area is crying out for help.”Once in Syria the cargo will be distributed by OCHA in co-ordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.
France has received assurances from Russia that all necessary approvals from Assad’s government had been given for the convoy to make the journey from the north to eastern Ghouta and Paris does not expect the cargo to be used by Syrian authorities for political means, the officials said.
It would be first time a Western country has delivered aid to government-controlled areas with the help of Russia, the source said.
France cut off diplomatic ties with Damascus in 2011.
Macron has for several months attempted to nurture a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Syria to break the deadlock on humanitarian aid. He considers it a first step to forging a wider political discussion with Russia that would ultimately bring together key regional and international players to end the seven-year civil war.
It is hoped that if the operation is successful, further cooperation could be developed in the area of getting aid to areas of Syria which have been liberated and are back under the territorial control of Assad’s government in Damascus. Up until this point, the aid has been utilized in the Raqqa region in northeastern Syria under the occupation of French and American military forces.
The Syrian matter was discussed by Macron and Putin some months ago when Macron travelled to Russia to lobby Russian support for the Iran non proliferation agreement and to bolster the current economic order in the face of Trump’s protectionist, unilateral approach to the world economy and the multilateral order.
Western media, as indicated in Reuters’s reporting on the matter, as shown above, is likely to portray the matter in as dim of a light as possible, wording their reports in a way that portrays the humanitarian issues of Syria as being something either caused by, permitted, or even stoked by the Syrian government. In this case, Reuters conveniently notes that there is little or no fear in this case that Assad would make use of the aid for political gain in some way, as if the Syrian President is willing to put the welfare of his people at a lower priority level than that of his own political agenda. This takes a shot at the legitimacy of the Syrian President, now it is to be seen whether Macron will take political flack for making an agreement with the Russians.