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U.N. to launch first airlift of aid to Syria via Iraq - UNHCR

Source: Reuters - Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:35 AM
Author: Reuters
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A boy reacts inside his home that was damaged by what activists said was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Qatana, Aleppo, December 1, 2013. REUTERS/Mahmoud Hebbo
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GENEVA, Dec 10 (Reuters) - The United Nations is launching its first airlift of food and other aid supplies from Iraq to the Kurdistan region of northern Syria this week with permission from both governments, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday.

The airbridge using commercial cargo Ilyushin 76 planes to Hassakeh, Syria, from Erbil, Iraq, will begin on Thursday and up to 12 flights are scheduled through Sunday, Amin Awad, director of the Middle East and North Africa Bureau of the UNHCR said.

"This is the first time aid goes through Iraq," Awad told Reuters in Geneva. "The number of vulnerable in al Hassakeh is estimated at 50,000-60,000 but we are still doing assessments. Al Hassakeh has been out of reach for a long time."

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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