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July 16, 2014

Charities Buck Syrian Government to Bring Aid to Rebel Zones

Major humanitarian groups have acknowledged that they are delivering aid directly to rebel-held areas in northern Syria, defying a government demand for control of how relief supplies are brought into the civil war-torn country, NPR reports.

Mercy Corps, the International Rescue Committee, and other relief agencies are working on a multimillion-dollar effort funded by Western governments to transport aid across the Turkish border to millions of Syrians displaced or left destitute by the fighting. Charity officials had kept the program under wraps due to security concerns and the complex political ramifications of aid work in the country.

On Monday the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for Syria aid to be delivered by the most direct routes. Aid officials contend the Syrian government has deliberately withheld U.N. supplies from rebel-controlled zones. Damascus has demanded that all deliveries pass through government-held areas and declared that cross-border aid not approved in the capital violates Syria's sovereignty.