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Egypt to cooperate with Syrian regime over 'humanitarian issues'

Residents of rebel-held east Aleppo are in desperate need of aid [AFP]

Date of publication: 22 October, 2016

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Egypt says it has been granted the blessing of the Syrian government to coordinate aid relief in war-torn Aleppo, in latest sign of warming relations between the two countries' regimes.
Egypt announced on Thursday that it aims to coordinate with the UN to evacuate the wounded and elderly and deliver humanitarian aid to Aleppo, in northern Syria.

In a statement, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that the endeavour would illustrate Egypt’s “commitment to addressing the humanitarian situation in Aleppo and reducing the suffering of its people” without explaining particular details.

The statement also declared that Egypt was working towards “the resumption of political negotiations to reach a political solution which realises the legitimate ambitions of the Syrian people while simultaneously preserving the unity of Syria.”

Abu Zeid further noted that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad had agreed to its efforts to coordinate with the United Nations, reported The Syrian Observer.

Earlier this week, Syrian intelligence chief General Ali Mamlouk held talks with his Egyptian counterpart General Khaled Fawzy in Cairo. According to Syrian state media the talks were aimed at “coordinating stances politically between Syria and Egypt... and boosting coordination for combating terrorism hitting both countries.” 

Despite being the most populous Sunni nation in the Middle East, Egypt has not expressed support for the mainly Sunni Syrian opposition. Instead, Cairo appears to be increasingly siding with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

Recently, Egypt’s decision to vote alongside Russia to block a draft UN Security Council resolution proposed by France that demanded an end to airstrikes on Aleppo caused widespread indignation in the Arab World and has lead Saudi Arabia to suspend oil aid to Cairo, estimated at some 700,000 tonnes of petroleum products monthly. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has also been accused of selling weapons to the Syrian regime.

A violent regime assault on rebel-held east Aleppo since a US-Russian brokered ceasefire collapsed in September has seen over 400 people killed and lead to accusations that Damascus and it’s Russian backers are guilty of war crimes.

A Russian proposed humanitarian “pause” is currently in effect in the city, bringing a temporary respite to the violence. However the initiative has been widely criticised as one that primarily serves the Syrian regime’s military interests and presents residents and rebel gunmen with an ultimatum: leave now, or face further bombardment. 

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