UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused all parties in the Syrian conflict of "indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks" on civilians and said the U.N. and its partners couldn't deliver food to 422,000 people in besieged areas in July.
Ban said in his monthly report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Tuesday that access to the 4.6 million Syrians in hard-to-reach areas — most controlled by Islamic State extremists — remains a critical concern with extremely limited humanitarian access.
He said U.N. agencies and their partners reached only 29 of the 127 hard-to-reach locations last month, and in the besieged areas, the only aid that arrived was a trickle of health assistance to 1.8 percent of the population.
The U.N. chief lamented that besieging areas "remains a pervasive tactic of war" in Syria.
Ban said 228,000 people are besieged by Islamic State militants in government-controlled western neighborhoods of Deir el-Zour city; 167,500 by government forces in eastern Ghouta and Daraya; and 26,500 by rebel groups in the pro-government villages of Nubul and Zahra.
He criticized the "complete and utter absence of protection for civilians" and "total disregard for human life" in Syria, which remains "the largest humanitarian and peace and security crisis facing the world today."
Ban said the delivery of humanitarian aid to many of the 12.2 million people in need remained "extremely challenging" in July because of conflict, insecurity, shifting front line "and deliberate obstructions and interference by the parties, including restrictions on movements and burdensome administrative procedures."
The secretary-general urged all parties to allow aid deliveries but said this can't substitute for political action to end the conflict, now in its fifth year with over 250,000 people killed.