Syrian army secures road to Aleppo

The aid groups working in Syria and neighboring Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey also announced that they are suspending participation in an information-sharing program aimed at improving aid deliveries as a first step to protest the Syrian government's "political influence" and the inaction of Damascus-based United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations.

According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced almost half of the country's pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.

Besides suspending participation in the programme, in which groups share information to help in the delivery of aid across Syria, the letter's signatories also called for a transparent investigation into the "political impact that the Syrian government has on humanitarian actors". "Sometimes we would agree on reports and they would just take things off afterwards, just remove it", he explained. "As a result, when you talk about besieged areas or medical evacuations, they aren't doing their job". In areas not under government control, it works with local partners that may not be on the government list, he said.

"UN agencies based in Damascus and their main partner, SARC, have been making the final decisions, shaped by the political influence of the Syrian government", they protest.

While Syrian forces had already ended the rebel blockade of their half of the city, and imposed a blockade against rebel eastern Aleppo, this adds considerable security to the safety of the western half's supply route.

The Guardian found aid money has gone to a charity set up by Assad's wife and to groups and businesses under USA and European Union sanctions. "The whole road is secure", a soldier told the reporter. It was once a bustling place, home to around a million people.

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